SOUTHFIELD, Mich. - He hasn't played a high school game yet but 2017 athlete Kahlee "KJ" Hamler has already created a buzz for himself. He started doing just that at the Sound Mind, Sound Body camp over the weekend.
At 5-6, 130-pounds, Hamler doesn't look like much of a football player, but he will eventually grow when he hits high school. For now, the eighth grader uses his speed and quickness when going up against bigger defenders. He took reps at wide receiver at the Sound Mind Sound Body Camp, and did well for someone his age and size against older players.
"I would give my performance on the day a B+," Hamler said. "I got locked down off the line a few times, because the defender got his hands on me. I'll need to work on getting stronger and bigger."
Hamler played little league for the Pontiac Panthers, and will make his transition to high school at Orchard Lake St. Mary's.
"I'm excited about going to Orchard Lake and the red turf," said Hamler. "Happy to meet new people, play football, and get good grades."
Though he's just a middle schooler, Hamler speaks well, and says he's learning how to handle all the attention he has been receiving. UCLA offered an eighth-grade quarterback last week, and Kentucky offered a seventh-grade cornerback, so the pressure on kids their age can be tremendous.
"The attention on me has been pretty good," he said. "I haven't been really paying attention to it all. I've just been ignoring it and doing my thing out there on the field."
Hamler says he likes his chances of getting an early offer as well, and has been in contact with several Big Ten schools. Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois all have Hamler on their radar, as well as Wayne State.
"Michigan has probably said the most to me", he said. "The coaches told me that they would be keeping a close eye on me, and too keep working hard."
His cousin is 2016 Farmington (Mich.) wide receiver Desmond Fitzpatrick, another young player with a high ceiling. He will be teammates with 2017 linebacker Joshua Ross at Orchard Lake St.Mary's. Fitzpatrick and Ross are both possible Michigan targets in the future.
"Desmond and I challenge each other all the time, making each other better," Hamler said. "I don't know Josh that well, but I am excited to be teammates with him in high school."
The Orchard Lake St. Mary's Eaglets will hold their football camp June 17-20, and Hamler plans to attend.