A quick perusal of the stat sheet reveals that quarterback Kevin Dillman had an unremarkable freshman season on the La Mirada (Calif.) High varsity team. The 2015 prospect played in just four games, tossing two touchdown passes with limited overall effectiveness. But numbers don't tell the whole story.
Dillman is originally from Sweden and came to La Mirada in late July prior to his freshman campaign. His tourist visa was set to expire, so the 6-foot-4, 205-pounder was forced to return home and file new paperwork in order to become a legal American citizen. For the remainder of the season, Dillman dealt with immigration services from both countries. He was granted American citizenship and returned to California two weeks ago.
Dillman's journey from Sweden to the United States makes for a compelling saga. It also could rise to the national fore in years to come: Dillman has the makings of a premier D-I recruit.
To wit: When Dillman was 13 years old, he played on the Swedish national team with a group of 18 and 19 year olds. Now, he's poised to wreak havoc at La Mirada -- the same school his father was a foreign exchange student and basketball player at 20 years ago.
"The dad ended up calling a guy that coached me in Pop Warner," said La Mirada coach Mike Moschetti. "The dad lived with him when he was an exchange student, his name is Pete Dames. He was the mayor of La Mirada. The dad called Pete and said my son is a pretty good football player and I want to get him to the United States. That's how the kid ended up at La Mirada."
For all parties involved, the decision to resolve the immigration issue was simple. No one wanted to jeopardize deportation -- and Dillman's burgeoning football future.
Though missing the majority of the season to obtain citizenship didn't advance Dillman's gridiron maturation, Moschetti promises it won't make a difference. In his eyes, the quarterback is so talented that, over the next few years, top programs spanning the country will come flocking with scholarships.
In fact, it's already begun. Colorado, Louisville and UCLA have extended offers and Cal could be next in line.
"I've never seen anything like this kid," Moschetti said. "I saw Matt Barkley play as a freshman and there's no comparison. This kid is a freak. He's big, he's fast, he throws deep and mentally he has it all. I didn't want him to stay here and then immigration down the road makes it hard on him to become a legal citizen. I know he's going to get recruited by everybody."
Moschetti has a working relationship with UCLA assistant coach Demetrice Martin from when the two coached together at Mt. San Antonio College. Moschetti implored Martin to show Bruins coach Jim Mora Dillman's game film. Five minutes later, the La Mirada quarterback had an offer.
"He can play in a West Coast offense and he can be a spread offense guy," Moschetti said. "That's how athletic he is. Coming from Europe, he'd get up at 6 a.m. and train with the Swedish Olympic trainers in the weight room. The discipline and the toughness is mindboggling for a 15 year old.
"I know what's going to happen. People are going to say, 'He's from Europe, he's not 15, he's really 18.' This kid is 15 years old. I know the dad. I sent the film to coach Martin and said, 'Don't even say anything and sit down and let Mora watch this.' He watched five minutes and said, 'We're offering him.'"
In the weight room, Dillman can lift 250 pounds on the hang clean. On the field, he resembles a blend of younger versions of Carson Palmer and Jake Locker. His freshman highlight tape displays great touch, an advanced feel in the pocket and the ability to throw on the run. He's generating as much buzz as Bear (Del.) Red Lion Christian Academy's David Sills -- the 2015 quarterback who committed to USC as a 13 year old in 2010 -- and could surpass his potential as his career progresses. An American citizen for mere weeks, the future now seems limitless.
According to Moschetti, he's serious about succeeding, too.
"I sat [Dillman] down and said you have an offer but it doesn't mean anything," Moschetti said. "They see the potential but you have a long way to go and a lot to prove. He looked me in the eye and said, 'This is going to make me work even harder.'"