The school year is just underway, but a freshman high school football player in New Jersey already has received a scholarship offer from Rutgers, reports the Bergen Record. Expect many more to come for 15-year-old Josh McKenzie, who is no ordinary freshman, as a detailed profile at NJ Advance Media reveals. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound teen trains like a pro, with 10 different personal trainers helping him last year. He repeated eighth grade in what Josh calls a "business decision" for purely athletic reasons—his grades are stellar. And he now competes for renowned Bergen Catholic High School as one of the top football players and wrestlers in the nation in his age group. Essentially, his uncle and legal guardian, Bill Green, is investing heavily in his athletic future now—figure about $15,000 a year in training, plus thousands more to travel to tournaments and other events—in hopes of a payday down the road.
The teen "embodies the runaway free-for-all youth sports have become," writes Matthew Stanmyre. "Specialized training. High school coaches lining up to woo players. Working out to the point of total exhaustion. Repeating a grade for athletic advantage. Bouncing from team to team. It's all part of his family's all-in, college-scholarship-or-bust gamble." About the only thing Josh can't control is his height, and he says his biggest fear is that he won't hit the 6-foot mark of a typical NFL defensive back. To try to remedy that, he hangs on an inversion table in his garage. The knock that he's being "engineered" has drawn plenty of criticism, but Josh tells WPIX that he shrugs it off. “I don’t read the articles or the comments," he says. "I just go out and play football. It’s the game I love and the game I’ve played all my life." Click to read the full profile by Stanmyre, headlined "How to build a sports superstar in 2015." (This female teen runner might be the best ever someday.)