Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Clovis junior high players could headline 2020 class

Kendall Milton of Clovis' Alta Sierra Middle School is already considered one of the top players in the Class of 2020 because of his skill set at running back. The seventh grader has also lined up at safety and has early interest from Southeastern Conference schools and PAC-12 programs (photo contributed).
Kendall Milton and Matt Merritt aren't in high school yet, but the Clovis residents have already captured the attention of a few NCAA Division I programs.

Milton, a seventh grade running back, and Merritt, a fellow seventh grader and lineman, have been recognized nationally by youth sports websites for their play and academics.

Here's a closer look at the Clovis Youth Football stars:


Milton is currently 12 years old, but with his growing chiseled 5-foot-11, 161-pound frame, the son of a personal trainer and nephew of former NFL linebacker Kevin Hardy looks like he could line up in a varsity backfield already.

His play on the football field is also getting LSU, Alabama and a few PAC-12 schools to take an early look at him.

Milton shows that he's clearly a man among boys on Saturday afternoons. His vision, power and elusiveness are traits that few running backs at the youth level - and even the high school level - currently have. He allows his holes to develop, and then takes off sprinting like he's in a track and field dash. His burst through a hole and second gear makes him look like a young Knowshon Moreno. His current 40-yard dash time is 4.8.

His work ethic off the field adds to his impressive play. Milton chooses the gym over playing video and cell phone games. His first appearance inside a weight room came at the age of 8. Since then, he's worked on footwork and lifting exercises five days a week. Along with his 40 time, he's cleared 48 inches on the box jump.

Lastly, Milton carries a 3.8 grade point average and was recently named to two prestigious all-star games: the Brett Cooper Junior Academic All-American game in Dallas on Jan. 3, 2015 and the Cal State Game in Visalia scheduled for December 2014.

Films on Milton:


Merritt - who attends Alta Sierra with Milton - already has versatility. He's paved running lanes at both guard and tackle and he clogs the middle at defensive tackle.

The thing I admire the most about Merritt so far? He doesn't stop running and he looks for someone to block. He's one of the lead blockers for his team and for Milton.

Most offensive linemen at the youth level and even high school ranks don't often run down the field during the play. But Merritt doesn't slow down until the whistle is blown.

Like Milton, Merritt will continue to grow. He's another academic youth football standout with invites to the Brett Cooper showcase and the Cal State game.

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