A nine-year-old has reportedly been offered a scholarship to the University of Nevada’s football program.
Havon Finney, Jr, who just finished the fourth grade in Carson, California, already has an opening to join the Wolf Pack – although he won’t be able to use it for another nine years.
But he’s only one of a recent trend of offering pint-sized children a spot on a professional team.
It used to be rare for high school freshmen to be offered scholarships but, lately, eighth-, seventh- and even sixth-graders have been presented with college football rides.
Among them is 13-year-old Kaden Martin, the son of USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin, who was as offered a football scholarship to Florida Atlantic University by famed coach Lane Kiffin.
A nine-year-old, however, is the youngest of the lot.
A highlight reel of Finney’s, from when he was just eight years old with the Carson Colts, has more than 155,000 views on YouTube. Another of him with other young football players has more than 810,000 views.
But exactly how projectable is it to see where Finney will be in four years’ time as a teenager?
Southern California football trainer Mike Evans, who trains Finney, says the signs are there. Finney’s dad is 6-foot-2 and his mom is 5-foot-11.
Combine that with his ‘work ethic and quickly-developing skills’, and Evans said it’s easy to know where he’ll be.
‘I’ve seen so many players in my time,’ Evans, a former D1 player, told 247 Sports.
‘When you see a player, you know…These kids aren’t going to be short. Genetically they have the size of pro athletes. The things they do right now, they’re already on high school level IQ wise.’
Evans also trains 10-year old football star Bunchie Young, who received a scholarship offer from the University of Illinois this month.
He argues that offers like these encourage kids to stay in school and continue onto college.
‘Getting kids offers at this time does nothing but motivate the kids,’ he said.
‘I’d rather a kid have a scholarship than going to join a gang or sell drugs. This helps a kid want to continue to play a sport and work hard because they know it’s possible.’
247Sports Director of Recruiting Steve Wiltfong panned the idea of a program offering a 10-year-old a spot on a college team for any reason.
‘This isn’t a trend in recruiting, it’s just ridiculous,’ Wiltfong said.
‘What’s the point? It’s not creative. You trying to get your name in the press? There are other more creative ways to make yourself relevant on the recruiting trail.’