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USC Offers Football Scholarship to 13-Year-Old

By jeannesager |

uscFootball fans might be focused on Miami this week, but University of Southern California Coach Lane Kiffin has his eyes on Delaware.

A thirteen-year-old quarterback from the first state has made public his verbal commitment to play football at USC. Kiffin made the offer even though David Sills isn’t even yet in high school.

Sills and his father spoke with the News Journal this week, telling the Delaware paper Kiffin offered him a scholarship to the California school and they’ve promised to sign in five years, when the boy is old enough to meet NCAA regulations.

That “when” is a big consideration. The NCAA has strict rules regarding letters of intent signed by prospective student athletes, and Kiffin is known for shady practices in college recruiting.

The former coach of the University of Tennessee Vols racked up six violations while in Knoxville, and he’s already got his first at USC. Just a few weeks ago, just after taking the USC post, he was accused to picking up a recruit at the airport in a limo – a big no no.

If you were already a little perturbed that a seventh grader was so seriously committed to a school he can’t attend for another five years, Kiffin’s record would seem to cement how ludicrous this situation is. Or at least point out Kiffin is hardly the role model for a thirteen-year-old would-be football star.

Sills is currently five foot eleven, but the News Journal reports his doctors expect him to top out around six foot five. He’s one hundred thirty-six pounds now – again a number that should grow in the next few years.

But with this supposed guarantee for his future will come immense pressure for  young Sills – and not just pressure to stay with the game (although, to be fair, he’s thirteen, he should be open to anything at this point, not tied to football). The emphasis on “getting that scholarship” felt by a lot of teen athletes has just been amped up to “I have to earn that scholarship.”

Football – or any other sport for that matter – has tremendous benefits for kids. But at the end, it’s still a game. And the life of a teenager isn’t a game.

Do you think this is too much too soon or just right?

Image: KClauson, Flickr

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About jeannesager



Jeanne Sager is a freelance writer and photographer living in upstate New York with her husband and daughter, Jillian. She maintains a blog of her award-winning columns at

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5 thoughts on “USC Offers Football Scholarship to 13-Year-Old

  1. [...] Follow this link: USC Offers Football Scholarship to 13-Year-Old | Strollerderby [...]

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  3. [...] But with each study like this that chops away at those helicopter parent proclivities, maybe kids will make it after all. Now, will someone send this study to the parents who already signed their thirteen-year-old up for a USC football scholarship? [...]

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