Get your creep on: 14-year-old QB phenom talks USC offer

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Ever-lovable USC head coach Lane Kiffin made headlines — and by “made headlines” we mean “caused sane people to throw up a little bit in their mouths” — early last year when he extended a scholarship offer to 13-year-old quarterback phenom David Sills, who promptly gave his “verbal commitment” to the Trojans — for the Class of 2015.

Now that Sills is merely four years away from being allowed to legally vote, it’s of course the logical next step in the process for him to appear on an ESPN radio program for an interview.  So he did.

During the course of the interview on ESPN Los Angeles, the eighth grader, who hails from the state of Delaware, addressed concerns some have that this may be too much too soon.  Or that Chris Hansen should be involved in the recruiting process.

“There is definitely no thought from me that it is,” the kid said. “I’m just trying to get ahead so that when I do go to USC, I’m prepared for USC and prepared for whatever comes at me. So it’s just an early start for me, and I think it’s a full advantage for me, and I think my parents and my whole family like it as well.”

Sills talked about what is was like to be on the receiving end of a dream offer from Kiffin — “I mean, that was my dream my whole life — to go to USC and play football” — and also discussed something that’s a near-daily occurrence for most strapping young men his age in this great country of ours.

“Well yesterday I went to the quarterback meetings and I was with all the quarterbacks,” Sills said matter-of-factly. “And they treated me like I was one of the quarterbacks, I wasn’t any different. It was cool being in there.

“They went through things like they were on the field; they were calling cadences like they were on the field. It was just cool when they were going over and protections being like ‘wow, this is going to be me when I get older and can go to USC.’ And then we went and watched their practice and it was really cool. It was just really cool watching all the players do their positions.”

(Before you ask, it is entirely permissible for Sills to attend QB meetings as the NCAA does not consider a football player a potential recruit until he reaches the ninth grade.)

(Excuse me for a second: Hey, NCAA, pull down your skirt; your loophole is showing.)

Somewhat surprisingly, and with major kudos to the host of the show, the elephant-sized question in the room was addressed.

If he knows if it’s a possibility that he’d not have the same offer by a different head coach other than Kiffin:

“Well I’ll always love USC. And I think Coach Kiffin is a great coach, so I think he’ll be there when I get there in five years.”

But can some coach other than Kiffin potentially rescind on the offer?

“I guess so. I’m not quite sure.”

This is where the whole creep-tastic situation could potentially spiral into ugliness and disappointment for the young man.

Of course there’s a chance that Kiffin won’t be with the Trojans in 2015, and his successor will be well within his rights to pull the offer if he so desires.  Of course there’s a chance that, even if Kiffin is still with the Trojans when 2015 rolls around, he decides to rescind the offer.  Hell, National Signing Day 2015 is nearly four years away; anything can happen between now and then.

By most media accounts, Sills is a very accomplished quarterback for someone his age and has a ton of potential.  Hopefully, the kid realizes his dream of suiting up for the Trojans upon graduation and goes on to a long and prosperous collegiate career.

If he doesn’t?  Don’t blame Kiffin or the school or anything else along those lines.  If this grand plan doesn’t come to fruition, place the blame squarely where it belongs — with the parents and with the NCAA.

And, if Sills reneges on his verbal?  Just chalk it up to Lady Karma comin’ a callin’ on Coach Kiffin.

Tennessee officially announces addition of USC transfer WR Velus Jones

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The newest member of the Tennessee Vols football team is officially onboard.

Earlier this month, Velus Jones announced on social media that he would be transferring from USC to Tennessee. Two weeks later, the Tennessee Vols football program confirmed the wide receiver’s addition to the roster.

The move continues what’s been a winding, twisting collegiate journey for Jones.

Originally committed to Alabama, Jones flipped to USC… then to Oklahoma… then back to USC before ultimately signing with the Trojans in 2016. In March of 2019, Jones placed his name into the NCAA transfer database. Three months later, however, Jones reversed course and remained with the Trojans.

Jones, a three-star 2016 signee coming out of high school in Alabama, was fourth on the Trojans in receptions (24) and receiving yards (266) as a redshirt sophomore in 2018. He also led the team with a 22.7 yards per kick return average. A year later, though, that production dropped to just 35 yards on six receptions.

For his career thus far, Jones has totaled 347 yards and a touchdown on his 36 catches.  He also scored a rushing touchdown in 2018.  On 82 kick returns spread out over three seasons, he averaged 23.7 per.

As a graduate transfer, Jones will be eligible to play for the Vols in 2020.  The upcoming season will serve as his final year of eligibility.

Auburn announces new three-year deal for DC Kevin Steele

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When it comes to the defensive side of the ball, the Auburn Tigers football program has ensured some continued coaching continuity.  At least for now.

Earlier Wednesday, Auburn announced that defensive coordinator Kevin Steele has agreed to a new three-year contract.  The new deal would keep Steele on The Plains through the 2022 season.

The financial particulars of the new pact have not yet been released.  In 2019, the 61-year-old Steele took in $1.9 million in total pay according to USA Today‘s coaching salary database.  That figure placed him third in the SEC and fourth nationally.

“Kevin has done a fantastic job with our defense the last four years making it one of the best in the country,” Auburn Tigers football head coach Gus Malzahn said in a statement. “This will provide great stability and leadership for our defense in the future. I’m appreciative of Kevin’s hard work.”

In December of 2015, Steele was hired as Auburn’s defensive coordinator.  Prior to that, he held the same job at LSU.

From the school’s release:

During Steele’s tenure as defensive coordinator the last four years, Auburn’s defense has ranked in the top 20 nationally in scoring defense. Auburn is one of only five FBS programs to hold opponents under 20 points per game in each of the last four seasons.

This past season, Auburn was sixth in the SEC and 17th nationally in giving up 19.5 points per game.  In total defense, the Tigers were seventh in the conference and 28th in the country as they allowed 337 yards per game.

Five Virginia Tech players, including three WRs, enter transfer portal in one day

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When it comes to the portal world, the Virginia Tech football program won the day.  Congrats?

As of this posting, three Virginia Tech football players announced on Twitter Wednesday that they have entered the NCAA transfer database.  Two of those entries are wide receivers — redshirt junior Hezekiah Grimsley (HERE) and true freshman Jacoby Pinckney (HERE) — to go along with running back Caleb Steward (HERE).

On top of that social-media attrition, it has been confirmed that yet another receiver, redshirt junior Phil Patterson, is in the portal.  As is defensive back Khalil Ladler, bringing the one-day total of Virginia Tech football players considering a transfer to five.

Five.  In one day.  The same day the program began winter workouts, it should be noted.

The trio of receivers in the portal actually pushes that group to four overall.  Earlier this month, Damon Hazelton signaled his intention to leave Blacksburg as well.

As for the recently-departed receiving corps particulars:

  • Grimsley — 53 career catches for 691 yards, three touchdowns. Stat line of 10-170-2 in 2019.
  • Patterson — 27 career catches for 269 yards, two touchdowns. Sta line of 6-72-1 in 2019.
  • Pinckney — Four-star 2019 signee who took a redshirt as a true freshman.  He was the No. 3 player regardless of position in the state of South Carolina.

As a redshirt freshman this past season, Steward ran for 85 yards on 19 carries.  Coming out of high school, Steward was a three-star 2018 signee.  He was rated as the No. 74 running back in the country and the No. 196 player at any position in the state of Florida.

A redshirt junior, Ladler played in 13 games each of the past three seasons.  During his time with the Hokies, the Georgia native was credited with 96 tackles, 6½ tackles for loss, five pass breakups, five passes defensed, three forced fumbles and two fumbles recovered.

Boise State, Mountain West release joint statement

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The developing situation between Boise State and the Mountain West Conference has taken yet another twist.

Earlier this month, the MWC announced a new six-year television deal that would significantly increase the annual revenue for league members.  The only problem?  MWC commissioner Craig Thompson stated earlier this month that Boise State’s sweetheart arrangement that allowed it to receive broadcast revenue above and beyond what other league members receive — originally part of a deal to remain in the conference after briefly going to the Big East during realignment’s heyday — would be coming to an end when this new deal expired.

That was apparently news to Boise State, which stated Tuesday that the university was “weighing our options to move forward.” One of those options, apparently, was the legal one as it was reported earlier Wednesday that Boise State filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against the MWC.

Two hours or so after those reports emerged, a “joint statement” from Boise State and the Mountain West addressed the latest development.

Last week, Boise State filed a complaint regarding media rights against the Mountain West Conference; however, that action alone does not formally begin a lawsuit. The University and the Mountain West are currently in discussions in hopes of bringing this matter to a resolution without litigation.

In the agreement that allowed Boise State to return to the MWC after the Big East flirtation, the university was to receive an additional $2 million in conference revenue annually.