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article imageNCAA: 13-year-old commits to play football for USC Trojans

By Oliver VanDervoort     Feb 5, 2010 in Sports
No sooner had USC Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin locked down his 2010 recruiting class than he began planning for the future. About five years into the future.
In what is considered unprecedented in the world of college football, the USC Trojans landed their first commit for the 2015 season in 7th grade, 13-year-old David Stills.
Stills, of Bear, Delaware is considered a wunderkind at his position because of his size, skillset and stature at such a young age. Stills family clearly believes the young man can do amazing things at the next level, as they've hired him Steve Clarkson, a personal coach who has also tutored such talented young players as current USC quarterback Matt Barkley.
Asked whether Stills deserves such attention at such an early age, Clarkson gave ESPN an emphatic yes: "His skill set is off the chart, I've never seen anyone at his age do what he's been able to do."
The commitment came about because of the close personal relationship Clarkson has with Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin, and Clarkson pitching Stills, who he has been mentoring for a little over three years to the coach, along with a video set. According to Clarkson, Kiffin watched the video of Stills going through drills and was blown away.
"I'm as shocked as anybody," Sills' father said. "I was just talking with friends yesterday about what it'll be like four years from now when David goes through the recruiting process. I never expected this to happen so soon."
The attention at such a young age could begin drawing parallels to another USC quarterback and wunderkind who's career didn't turn out quite as well as predicted. Todd Marinovich was groomed from birth to be the best quarterback, and athlete of his generation. After a successful run at USC and a first round selection by the Oakland Raiders in the 1991 draft, Marinovich rebeled against his rigid upbringing and was out of the NFL just two years after entering.
Marinovich has also had a string of legal troubles, all related to drug abuse that further curtailed what was once an incredibly bright future. A total of nine arrests over a 14 year period seemed to have shed real light on what can happen when you over expose a child at such a young age.
Only time will tell whether the Stills family handle their current situation the right way, and there will certainly be a spotlight on young David over the course of the next few seasons, what he chooses to do with that spotlight, is anybody's guess.
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