There has been significant media buzz and general hand-wringing related to the rising number of players being recruited and committing to their college futures while still in middle school. The trend had been exclusively confined to the nation's top football and boys basketball prospects ... until now.
On Wednesday, Houston eighth grader Charli Collier officially committed to play collegiate basketball at the University of Texas. Her commitment was first reported by the Austin American-Statesman. The Crosby Middle School (Houston, Tex.) star is the first member of the girls basketball class of 2018 to officially declare her college intentions and reportedly held scholarship offers from more than 30 colleges, according to MaxPreps.
It's unknown if Collier is the first ever middle schooler to commit to a college womens basketball program. Prep Rally is unaware of any previous girls hoops recruits who have committed so early, so if she's not the first, Collier is definitely among a group that could be counted on one hand.
There are plenty of reasons for schools to be excited about Collier. The 6-foot-3 post player is skilled in the paint and already has a consistent close-range game. Her mother was a collegiate basketball player and her father stands 6-foot-8.
Houston-area network KHOU reported that Collier had a drop-step move worked out by the age of 5.
Still, it's evident when watching the highlight reel below that Collier is no finished product. In fact, she's not even close. One of the prominent factors that some have cited in support of Collier's talent is her ability to play left handed. At the college level that is supposed to be a given.
Of course, Collier is still more than four years away from entering college, so she has time to keep developing. Schools didn't want to wait, with Collier's mother, Ponda Collier, telling KHOU that her daughter began fielding serious inquiries from Division I programs in the fifth grade.
And why Texas?
"They were confident in me and believed in me and offered me a scholarship," Charli Collier told KHOU. "I trusted them."
There's plenty of time for her to add more skills and refine the ones she has. The larger question now is whether her commitment might be the snowball that eventually leads to an avalanche of pre-high school commitments in yet another sport.
For the sake of all involved, here's hoping it isn't.
- Sports & Recreation