Last week, Rutgers extended an offer to St. Peter Prep’s (Philadelphia, Pa.) starting freshman quarterback, Kyle McCord. Having just started his high school career, McCord has already garnered quite a few accomplishments under his belt; he earned the starting nod at one of the top high school programs in the nation as a freshman, won quarterback MVP at the 2017 Under Armour All-American Regional Youth Camp, and has fielded offers from Michigan, Penn State and Georgia.
Even better for the Scarlet Knights, McCord comes from a Rutgers football legacy, with his father, Derek, having played under center for the Scarlet Knights from 1988 to 1992.
“It felt awesome [getting an offer from Rutgers], especially coming from the hometown school,” McCord told NJ.com. “Obviously, they’re building something really special over there. And I feel like by 2021 when I graduate high school, they will have transformed Rutgers into a powerhouse in the Big Ten with all the talent in the area.”
Despite the calling of a hometown school, McCord has said that he is keeping his options open going forward.
“I just say wherever is the best fit for me,” Said McCord to NJ.com. “I’m looking to build a really good relationship with the staff wherever I go. And somewhere I just feel comfortable, feel like it’s home and can help prepare me for the next level which is the ultimate goal.”
NJ.com gave a quick analysis on McCord, stating that McCord is “…accurate, has a strong arm, good footwork and a good handle on reading defenses at an early age. He is a pro-style quarterback, yet has the athleticism to already dunk a basketball, and is also a standout on the hardwood.”
Watching some of his Hudl.com tapes, I agree with NJ.com’s Todderick Hunt on his analysis, but I take it with a grain of salt.
This is not to say that I do not believe that McCord is not a talented player, the tape more than proves that he is. But over the years, we have witnessed quite a few players get national attention so early on in their high school careers, that it can inhibit their progress.
One example that comes to mind is the story of David Sills.
In 2010, as a sophomore, Sills rose to being one of the top quarterbacks in the country. He was so good, former USC head coach Lane Kiffen offered Sills a scholarship, to which Sills accepted through a non-binding verbal commitment.
In 2012, Sills’s senior year, he injured the knuckle on his throwing hand, which would inhibit his ability to throw a perfect ball. Pairing that with Lane Kiffen’s firing in 2013, Sills de-committed from USC in 2014 after seeing the Trojans recruit other top quarterback prospects in Sam Darnold and Ricky Town. He soon flipped his commitment over to West Virginia afterward.
Sills struggled to gain any traction as a quarterback for the Mountaineers but did see time as a wide receiver.
After a quick stint with El Camino College in 2016, Sills gave up his dream of playing quarterback and took on being a wide receiver for West Virginia. This proved to work well for Sills, with him leading the nation with touchdown catches (18) in 2017.
I am not saying that McCord is going to end up like Sills. I am only saying that we as fans and analysts should be careful when looking into freshman/sophomore high school prospects, for we are putting a lot of pressure for them to succeed and maintain a high level of consistency so early on in their careers.
McCord is a talented rising player in the college football recruiting game, and I want him to succeed and maintain the level of play he has established. So long as he focuses on himself; not on the pundits, the recruiters, or the fans, McCord will be a top ten recruit by the time he is a senior.