Despite playing under heavy scholarship reductions, USC still pulled in one hell of a recruiting class this past February. But Trojans coach Lane Kiffin isn’t stopping there. He’s preparing for the future as well. Like, four years down the road and one whole class of players preparing for the future.
Blair Angulo of ESPN Los Angeles reported Monday, with the Los Angeles Times confirming later on, that Kiffin has offered a scholarship to receiver Nathan Tilford of Upland, Calif. — a member of the 2017 recruiting class. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound “prospect” has been visiting USC’s practices and doing the 7-on-7 circuit.
Kiffin certainly isn’t the first coach to offer a scholarship to a pre-high schooler (in fact, it’s not even his first time doing so). Les Miles and Nick Saban have previously offered a spot to athlete Dylan Moses, another member of the 2017 class.
While offering a scholarship to a kid who has yet to play a down of high school football feels, well, icky, it’s really the recruit and his family who need to understand the risks of putting their collective footballs in one basket at such a young age. A lot can happen in four years. Kiffin could lose his job and/or the scholarship offer could be rescinded.
And, in fairness to Tilford, he hasn’t committed to anyone yet.
To echo the sentiments of our good pal Michael Felder, a former football player himself, a kid should let the recruiting process play out to its fullest. Examine all your offers and wait as long as you need to before committing, verbally or otherwise. For one, coaches hold all the power in the agreement anyway; secondly, it’ll be the last time a player gets to explore his options this extensively until his second NFL contract. If he’s lucky to make it that far.