It is not often that a player returns to the program they transferred out of. It is even less often they come back less than a year later. However, David Sills’ college football journey has been anything but ordinary. Labeled a quarterback prodigy from a young age, Sills famously committed to USC and then head coach Lane Kiffin when he was just 13 years old. Fast forward a few years and Kiffin was no longer at USC, and Sills ended up in Morgantown after having worked with coach Dana Holgorsen before.
For Sills, the dream was always to play quarterback at a big time college football program. He had been told since middle school that was what he was destined to do. However, life doesn’t always work out as we would like, and Sills found him self buried on the depth chart behind QB Skyler Howard.
Sills athletic talent was too much for the coaching staff to ignore, though. He was convinced to try his hand at receiver, and he found some playing time his freshman year in 2015. He played in four games and caught seven passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns.
Still, Sills thought of himself as a quarterback and his window of opportunity to play under center was closing. Skyler Howard had the 2016 starting job locked up, and Will Grier transferred in from Florida to fight for the starting role in 2017. So Sills had a decision to make: continue to fight for the dream he’s had since being a young teen featured on ESPN SportsCenter, or give that dream up and focus on being a receiver.
Last June Sills announced that he was transferring from WVU in order to chase his dream of being a quarterback.
“Going to junior college was what I needed to do to know if I was going to be a quarterback or a receiver,” Sills said. “If I would have stayed at West Virginia and played receiver, I would still not have been fully bought in and eventually that would have hurt the team because I wouldn’t have been giving my all.”
In 2016, Sills ended up at El Camino Junior College where he completed 127 of his 238 pass attempts for 1,636 yards and threw 15 touchdowns to seven interceptions. A 53.4 percent pass completion is not going to bring too many big time programs calling, though. Sills received some interest from Ball State, but it was time to accept that maybe being a Division I quarterback wasn’t in the cards for him.
“Toward the end of the recruiting process after the season was over, I was kind of sitting there and I wasn’t hearing from many colleges,” Sills told WVU Sports. “That’s when my quarterback coach said, ‘Maybe we should market you as a receiver?’
That’s when coach Holgorsen came calling once again, and asked him to come back to West Virginia.
“I knew that was what I was supposed to do. I haven’t looked back since then and I don’t have any regrets. I don’t think of myself as a quarterback anymore.” Sills said.
On National Signing Day 2017, just seven months after he left, Sills became a Mountaineer once again.
“All the quarterback thoughts are out of my mind,” Sills told the Charleston Gazette. “I don’t really have to regret anything. If I would have stayed here, maybe I would have regretted not giving it my all at quarterback. But I’ve really given it everything I have. Coming back and just focusing on being a receiver has been really good for me.”
Finding his place in college football has been a strange and winding path for David Sills, but when he takes the field in 2017, he will be home and focused on a new dream.