Sport: Courting Eighth-Graders

Ryan Boatright, 14, just entered high school. He's already got a scholarship to USC. Are college coaches going too far to win?

Ted Carlson / Check Six

Ryan Boatright at the Northwest Community Park in Plainville, Illinois on September 22, 2007.

Little kids still ring ryan Boatright's doorbell, wondering if the future University of Southern California point guard can come outside to play. During a recent family dinner at T.G.I. Friday's, as dessert crept dangerously close to the start of a movie at the mall, panic swept over Ryan's face. He looked as if he'd rather do a month's worth of dishes than spend another second of Saturday night with his family.

In other words, Ryan Boatright is 14 years old. Yet this summer, the 5-ft. 9-in., 138-lb. hoopster rocked college sports when he announced that he would play basketball at USC--in...

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