WVU’s David Sills Could Become A Playmaker In More Than One Area
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia’s is placing high hopes in junior receiver David Sills to make a big impact on offense and special teams.
After coming out of high school as a quarterback during his freshman year in 2015 for West Virginia, Sills played in seven games at wide receiver, recorded seven receptions for 131 yards and scored two touchdowns. He then spent his sophomore year at California’s El Camino College as their quarterback for the 2016 season, completing 127-of-237 passes for 1,636 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also rushed for 258 yards on 96 carries, scoring five touchdowns.
“It was my freshman year when I started playing wide receiver,” said Sills, who was among the most highly sought quarterback recruits in the nation early in his prep career before finally giving wideout a try – and understanding the physical differences in the positions. “The first couple of weeks I was fine, I wasn’t really struggling that much and then week three and four came and my legs were just dead. I couldn’t get to my top speed, I couldn’t do all that and that was just because I didn’t prepare the way the receivers did.
“I prepared as a quarterback, and quarterbacks have a lot to prepare for. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve got a very hard job, a lot of it’s very mental. With receiver it’s more on your legs. That’s what I tried to do more when I came back is just preparing in the summer by stressing your body as much as you can so when it comes to this you can stay healthy and not have any pulls or strains. At the same time you just have to stay in the weight room recovering, training, and stretching all the time.”
The approach worked, and Sills has continued to make plays in fall camp as he did in the spring, when he was the primary target for quarterback Will Grier. It’s to the point where the combination of underrated physical ability and his mental acuteness has earned praise from other members of the coaching staff, with Sills even being nicknamed “Coach Sills” by offensive coordinator Jake Spavital.
“He does a great job,” Spavital said. “The thing you worry about with Sills is that he does too much. You gotta pull him back. He’s obviously running inside and outside receiving routes, he’s doing extra drills in the film room all night. At the end of the day you gotta tell him to get home, get some sleep, and relax a little bit.
“He’s eager, he wants to be really good, he tells everybody (what to do at times), he helps everybody out, and you like that. Dana (Holgorsen) has mentioned it a few times. Being a quarterback mentality in the receiver room is pretty much what Sills brings to the table. That’s elevated to coach Sills since he knows just about every position on the field.”
After struggles in the punt return game last year in averaging only 1.9 yards per bring back, special teams coach Mark Scott plans to utilize Sills as a returner, something Sills has expressed interest in doing along with being involved with the offense.
“That’s something I want to do.” Sills said. “I feel like I can be really good at it if I worked at it enough. Coach (Tony) Gibson and coach (Tyron) Carrier have been giving me tips about it and everything. A lot of that is just stuff like if someone’s coming at you, you just gotta do it. So that’s just one thing, you have to work on catching the punts and everything, just gotta get the offense with a good field position.”
Coaches and teammates of Sills enjoy joking around with his athleticism due to his transition from quarterback to the more physically demanding position that is wide receiver.
“They kind of all just joke with me probably because I was a former quarterback.” Sills said. “If I do something unathletic, they’ll just be like ‘oh that’s the quarterback’ or something like that. We kind of just all have our jokes in the room, but I just try to do what I can. Mike Joseph’s gotten me a lot stronger and faster since I’ve been here, so I give a lot of credit to my athleticism to him, but I try to do everything I can to stay healthy so I can be the most athletic I can on the field come Sept. 3rd.”