David Sills V 6’ 4” 210 lbs WR West Virginia #15 & #13
David Sills is an interesting player who has wantedto play football since his early childhood. In fact when he was only 12 years old he created a YouTube video of him playing QB that was so spectacular Lane Kiffin, the then-head coach of USC offered him a scholarship. It garnered a lot of media attention, and Sills began doing interviews right then preparing him for a career as a sports celebrity.
The scholarship at USC never happened because Kiffin was later fired, but the dream of being a QB never died in young David He received a scholarship to West Virginia to play QB but never received that chance as he was too far down on the depth chart. He had good size so the coaches asked him to play WR, and with some trepidation he agreed to try.
Here he is as a true freshman playing on the outside Remember that Sills had never played WR at any level of football in a real game before this game. Sills is just a football player who takes pride in his performance. You can see it on this play. He has very little knowledge on how to play WR, but he innately stacks the DB on his back, gives a gentle nudge to gain separation just before the ball arrives, and makes a nice over the shoulder catch.
This is a nice play for a veteran receiver to make, but Sills tracks the ball like a seasoned pro and makes the catch look easy. This wasn’t a hitch pass or a bubble screen. It was a 35 yard one on one sideline pattern that Sills toasts the CB on. He also wisely gave the QB plenty of room on the sideline to make the throw and had the wherewithal to keep a foot in bounds.
This play is also as a freshman in a tight game with less than 3 minutes to play and down by 6 points. Sills comes off the line hard and makes it look like a post route but cuts sharply back to the sideline, leaving him wide open while making the CB trip on his own feet.
The rest of the play is fairly easy as he smartly pivots away from the defenders after the catch and takes a glancing blow as he takes the ball into the end zone to tie the score. That was his only catch of the day and provided the winning margin after the extra point.
That turned out to be Sills last catch for about 20 months. He still wanted his shot to play QB so he left West Virginia and played at El Camino Junior College for his sophomore season. He actually spent the year sleeping on a friend’s couch to do so, I guess he really wanted to play QB.
Sills played well at the JUCO level, but still no major college program would give him a shot to play QB. Dana Holgorsen, the head coach at West Virginia offered him his scholarship back if he agreed to play WR only. In the end Sills relented, and the desire to play football trumped the craving to play QB. So in 2017 Sills returned and this time learned how to play the WR position.
Dana Holgorson said that no player in his program worked harder than David, and it showed. Now armed with a new challenge, David Sills changed his career path.
This first clip is from two different games and shows some of the body control that David uses to make his catches. The first is a TD against Kansas State, a great catch that displays even better awareness to get one foot in bounds.
The first time I saw the catch I thought he was out of bounds, but he is somehow able to get a toe to hit the end zone before he goes sailing out of bounds. The second catch is a pass that should be put to the back pylon as Sills has a head of steam and is much taller than the defender. What I find remarkable is how Sills adjusts so smoothly to the errant throw. You see him look back and expect the ball heading towards the corner. The throw is over the wrong shoulder, but he still calmly flips around making the catch easily.
I put together a compilation of three TD passes that Sills caught against Baylor in a single game. In fact he caught another 3 TDs the week before against Texas Tech, giving him 6 TDs in two weeks. All the catches are on different types of patterns, and Sills shows a different skillset on each one.
The first TD is that corner of the end zone throw that was used in the first two clip,s and the QB still can’t get the ball in the right spot. We used to call this a flag route. It is left short, and Sills has to stop and out jump the defender for the ball. The second TD is a skinny post route. Sills has to cross the CB face and get upfield while keeping inside the safety. You see he makes a nice catch, and then pulls the ball down to protect it quickly, bracing for a hit from the safety that never comes. The third TD is a simple drag pattern that Sills grabs 5 yards over the LOS. He then splits the defenders and races down field for an easy score.
The next clip is another two TDs (of the 3 TD performance against Texas Tech) and again features that flag route they have been trying to get right the last two clips.
This time they finally get it right, and you can see what an advantage it is for Sills as he goes way up over the defender to pull in the TD. The defender has no shot unless he is able to strip the ball, but Sills smartly brings the ball in front of him, away from the defender and tucks it in quickly to avoid any chance of the defender stripping the ball away.
The second TD is just a seam route that is lofted up in the air because the QB is under duress. As the QB falls back during the throw, the ball hangs up in the air. Sills has to absorb a hit but still takes the ball into the end zone.
The last clip is a couple of TDs against Kansas where Sills has to avoid some defenders and take the ball to the house. Sills is not an elusive runner or all that great after contact. In fact he has a high center of gravity and can get knocked off his feet rather easily. Here he is able to avoid the DBs and gain extra yardage.
The second TD is just a quick slant pattern that he is able to get across the face of the defender and into a void at the goal line. You can see how on both throws Sills catches the ball in stride and never slows down. He just keeps running like he never made a catch. This is how a player who is not that fast can get YAC, that and an innate ability to avoid tacklers.
Sills has played 28 games at West Virginia with 132 receptions, 2097 yards and 35 TDs. This includes his freshman year when he played on the last 4 games and had 7 receptions.
Sills is a tall, smooth route runner with innate football qualities and a never ending desire to compete. He reminds me a lot of Cooper Kupp, but he not near that level yet. Sills will have concentration drops, and his understanding of a route tree is at a rudimentary level. Remember Sills has only played in 26 games of football as a WR in his life; he was always a QB before that. He does bring with him a QB’s perspective on what a receiver should do to get open and understanding spacing and windows.
He is still a work in progress, and he will work long and hard with his WR coach in the NFL as he has always been a hard worker. I expect great things from Sills maybe not right away, but I suspect that he will be a Cooper Kupp type player by his 3rd year as long as he is in an offense that caters to his talents.
I want to see how Sills tests at the Combine and his pro day workouts. He could drop quite a bit if he runs slow and has a poor SPARQ score. That is good because that means we could pick him up later in the draft. I currently have a low 2nd round grade that will be altered slightly after all the testing is done.
Tell me what you think...