Seemingly, he has it all.
A college scholarship in his back pocket. The starting varsity quarterback spot on one of the nation's fastest-rising teams
. Eye-popping statistics against increasingly difficult competition.
But somehow David Sills
still remains hungry to be great, even at such a young age.
With undeniable physical gifts and a football IQ of a much older player, Sills has opened a lot of eyes over the last two seasons at
Red Lion Christian Academy (Bear, Del.)
It seems that his dedication to training and conditioning have really helped him develop from an attention-grabbing seventh grader to a the odds-on favorite for the MaxPreps National Freshman of the Year
First-year Red Lion head coach Dwayne Thomas has trained Sills for three years and has been impressed by his dedication to improve.
"I train David three mornings a week, at 5:30 a.m. It's not normal for people to get up that early, go to school, function at a high level academically, and then function the next day," Thomas said. "He is as driven of an athlete as I've ever been around, and I've been coaching for 21 years."
Sills was first introduced the the national stage when he committed to USC
in February of 2010 as a seventh grader. People who were skeptical of him then are quickly learning he is worthy of the hype, according to Thomas.
"Obviously, when he committed to USC as a seventh grader, people think it's a joke, it's a gimmick," he said. "Now, you think Lane Kiffin's a genius."
MaxPreps writer Jon Buzby, who covers the Delaware area and has seen Sills play multiple times, has been impressed with his maturation.
"Mechanically, he appears to have skills beyond his years," Buzby said of Sills, who trains with well-known quarterback maven Steve Clarkson. "Physically, he is still growing and maturing, yet still doesn't look like a freshman quarterback when you meet him in person."
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Sills is physically well-ahead of where even Thomas expected he would be. However, the proof of Sills' improvement is in his performance.
As an eighth grader, Sills completed 108 of 195 passes for 1,355 yards and nine touchdowns. Sills started his 2011 campaign by going 15-for-19 with four touchdowns in a rout of Ohio small-school powerhouse Ursuline.
In Red Lion Christian's second game, Sills finished with 297 yards and four more touchdowns.
With a national schedule that includes games against Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, Md.)
, Washington (Massillon, Ohio)
, and University (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
, Sills has a chance to have one of the greatest freshman seasons of all time at his current pace, given the level of upcoming competition and how impressive solid performances against those opponents would be.
How does Sills compare to some other hyped freshman signal-callers in recent years? Here is a look at five other ninth-grade phenoms at the quarterback position.Chris LeakSchool: Independence (Charlotte, N.C.)Season:
Given that his older brother C.J. was a national recruit at Independence in 1998, it's no surprise that Chris Leak entered high school with eyes of Charlotte football fans already fixated firmly on him. Colleges had already taken notice too, as Wake Forest, where C.J. played at the time, reportedly made an offer to the younger Leak as an eighth grader. Leak's freshman season, in which Independence went 5-5, was solid if unspectacular, as he tossed for 1,350 yards and 13 touchdowns. The next season, when head coach Tom Knotts arrived, Leak blossomed into one of high school football's most-decorated quarterbacks ever.
The next four frosh stars (Continue reading)