Blog Entry

Glorifying a 12-year-old

Posted on: February 16, 2009 4:01 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2009 4:03 pm

At the risk of glorifying a process than elevates a 12-year-old to star status, here are some leftovers from Friday's story on Steve Clarkson and David Sills.

Clarkson is the quarterback tutor to the stars, working with the offspring of Wayne Gretzky, Joe Montana and Snoop Dogg, as well as other prospects. One of his prized pupils is 12-year-old David Sills of Bear, Del.

Are colleges showing interest in the kid?:

Clarkson: What I am finding is the middle school tackle programs are starting to gain steam. Here in California we really didn't have middle school football. You played Pop Warner but there was no affiliation to a school. You had serious weight restrictions. It was kind of not real football.
"Middle school programs they don't have that. It's like high school for junior high. That's really picking up a lot of steam. Ultimately I can see a trend at some point, especially if I do expect at some point to get the early signing day like they have in basketball. Once that becomes official then I think you'll see a trend to have personnel to at least monitor the youth programs. They'll probably put a heavier focus on kids to come to their football camps if you will, to start the dialogue.

"Obviously David Sills people know about him but it's not like they're able to talk to him or anything. He is being monitored without question." 

How do you project these kids: Football is difficult because you don't know how big they're going to be. It depends on what kind of school a kid goes to, what system he's in. In basketball if he's a great player individually, that's all they need to know. One player makes a huge difference for a team. They're usually boiling that program around that young man."

How did you get hooked up with the Sills family: The dad called me several times. I had never worked with a kid that young so I wasn't really that interested in returning the call but he was persistent ... He just wanted answers. I think if would have told him his kid couldn't play that would have been the end of it.

"My motto has always been: Expect to get more, giving some leeway to understand he is 12.

"I think he is very well grounded. One of the things I watch for, what does he do for fun? Life just can't be Xs and Os. What kind of social life does he have? He is very outgoing. He's like the class clown. He's in other sports which is a plus. I like that. He's a wrestler, a part-time baseball player. He's into other things. That at least gives him some other balance."

Is it possible David Sills can be peaking now: "From what I've seen I don't think so. That's what I mean by being well rounded. He's got other things in his life. He loves to compete. That probably drives him more. He's got a couple of good peers that are all over the country that he's good friends with. Maybe 1 to 2 years difference but they're all competitive, they're all good close friends and they're all exceptional. He's not alone like the tennis player or the golf player. You are playing individual sports so all the pressure is sort of all on you. That's a lonely place."

Who would you compare David to?: "It's always dangerous. You hear all the clichés: he's the next Elway or he's the next (unintelligible). You look at the two kids that probably are most comparative, they are Jimmy Clausen and Matt Barkley.  Potentially if David Sills, if he continues on this path, more than any other athlete will probably be the most publicized than any of them."


Category: NCAAF

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: February 17, 2009 6:37 pm

Glorifying a 12-year-old


I think that he was joking. The smily face kinda clues you in. Anyway obviously we agree: let kids be kids.

Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: February 16, 2009 11:47 pm

Glorifying a 12-year-old

I sincerely hope that you are joking about hoping that Stoops has his eye on these kids. I would like to believe that these coaches have better ways to spend their time than to look at kids who are 6 or so years away from being in college. Please be looking at the ones who are just a couple years away.

Since: Nov 13, 2008
Posted on: February 16, 2009 11:40 pm

Glorifying a 12-year-old

It's crazy we're talking about pre-pubescent kids and almost looking at them as commodoties. I only hope the best interest of the kid dis always placed at the top of the priority list.


Also, I hope Bob Stoops is keeping an eye on these kids. :)


Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: February 16, 2009 7:19 pm

Glorifying a 12-year-old

Great article. Nice to see that people are identifying talent. But there has to be a line drawn: And this is it. A twelve year old? When I was twelve we played sports year round. We didn't have talent scouts looking at us. All it takes is the wrong kid from the wrong family with the wrong circumstances. Does Friday Night Lights the book ring a bell for anyone? Even if my kids have noticeable talent as twelve year olds, and who's to say they won't, I will limit their exposure to talent scouts. These kids need to have normal lives, and as their parents it's up to us to provide that. Kids are still developing at twelve to eighteen. The over exposure will ruin kids.

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