Kris Silbaugh is a wide receiver for Cambridge Springs High School in Pennsylvania, and just became the school’s all-time leader for yards in a single season. He captured the honor with a 43-yard touchdown catch in a 63-0 rout of Saegertown.
Now, that alone is significant. What makes it particularly special is the fact that he’s doing it with one hand. That’s right, just check out his highlight video here. He’s essentially a full-time Odell Beckham Jr.
Well, if he has the hand of Odell Beckham Jr., he has the speed of Falcons star Julio Jones. And that’s not an exaggeration. Silbaugh runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds, which is what Jones was clocked at during his combine.
His story isn’t just different from a standpoint of physical ability. Typically, football players start at a very early age. It’s not uncommon for youth tackle football leagues to pit players in single digit age groups against each other. The high school star, for the phenom he’s become at Cambridge Springs, didn’t even play organized football until he got to the ninth grade.
“Growing up, I’d play backyard football with my friends. I always grew up loving the game,” he said. “I just never really pursued organized football until freshman year of high school.”
With 915 yards on the season so far – many of them from long bombs, diving catches, and simply overpowering his defenders – Silbaugh miraculously doesn’t see any of his one-handed catches as extraordinary.
When asked if those highlight-worthy catches struck him as amazing plays or if they seemed normal, he leaned towards the latter of the descriptions. “I’d say it’s more so normal,” he told me. “I expect it of myself, and if I don’t perform to my best, I get pretty down on myself.”
Take a moment to let that give all of us a bit of perspective. Sailbaugh serves as an perfect role model for the ideal that, no matter the circumstances, if there’s a will, there’s way. It’s a popular cliché demonstrated here in the most honest of examples.
What advice would Silbaugh offer to other youth athletes facing adversity out there?
“I would probably say you can do whatever you put your mind to. If you work hard and try your best, and put everything you have into whatever you’re trying to accomplish, good things will happen.”
Exceptional advice for any of us to live by.