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Illini make scholarship offer to Bunchie Young, 10, trainer says

Illinois has offered a scholarship to 10-year-old youth football star Bunchie Young, according to Young's trainer.

Mike Evans of Los Angeles-based LacedFacts Training confirmed the verbal offer to ESPN, saying Illinois coaches had seen Young's highlight videos on social media. Illinois cannot comment on unsigned prospects, but offensive coordinator Garrick McGee retweeted Evans' announcement of Young's offer on May 9.

Young, a fourth-grader who only recently turned 10, has drawn comparisons to other former Los Angeles-area youth stars De'Anthony Thomas and DeShaun Jackson, who went on to play for Oregon and Cal, respectively, before entering the NFL.

The scholarship offer was previously reported by MaxPreps.com.

Evans said the growth of social media has put players like Young and Havon Finney Jr., a 9-year-old who Evans said recently received an offer from Nevada, on the radar of college coaches at younger ages.

"It's a new day and age," said Evans, who grew up in Los Angeles and played safety at Louisville and Nevada. "When I played, there weren't any direct connections to the universities like it is with social media now. When you see the De'Anthony Thomases and the Desean Jacksons, these kids were Bunchie and Hadon at this age. Now you get to see them at a national level. If you saw DeAnthony at this age, you would have given him a look early. When you see Bunchie, you've never seen a kid that age move like that."

Evans began training Young last year at LacedFacts, which recently opened its own facility in Los Angeles. Youth football players from around the area work with Evans, who also promotes them through his social media accounts. He has another player, an 11-year-old, who he says has generated interest from Oregon. Many players play 7-on-7 football in the summer and then with their individual youth teams during the fall season.

"We're the only organization with 10-year-olds getting scholarship offers," Evans said. "I brand all our kids. I put the videos out. I do photo shoots for our kids. When you see one kid, you think it's a fluke. But when you see two kids from the same program, it raises eyebrows. You say, 'What is going on here?' "