Peyton Newell is an exception to the rule. The upcoming high school sophomore is already one of the top-rated defensive ends in the country despite his age.
"When I was in the eighth grade, I was in the US Army All-American. And then last year, Maxpreps rated me #7 overall for the class of 2014. Of the top ten, I was the only d-lineman. So that was good."
The 6'-2", 250 pounder is a workout warrior. He has bench pressed 185 pounds 27 times, broad jumped 9' and produced a 28" vertical. And he has recorded a 4.94 40 yard dash. He describes his workouts.
"I do weights in the morning, and then I go to this agility program called Athletic Republic, which is an hour and 15 minutes away. So we drive that three times a week. My vertical has gone up 10 inches one year in the program. And my squat's up to 475 now, so it's skyrocketed."
Newell has proved a quick learner on the football field despite a relatively late start.
"I'm in Hiawatha, in the northeast corner of Kansas. It's a small town, so my first year of football was actually seventh grade. As a freshman in the Big 7 League, I led the league in sacks, tackles and tackles for loss."
Newell's dad Frank is his driver but also his promoter. He makes sure media at colleges interested in his son's services have access to every detail of his progress as an athlete. For some, that might be a nuisance. But not in this case.
"I definitely appreciate it. He definitely has a love of football, as I do."
Newell, speaking at the conclusion of an Illinois one-day camp, has already demonstrated his talents for several major colleges.
"I'm at Illinois, and I've been to KU, Missouri, K-State, Oklahoma, and at the end of July Oklahoma State."
Newell was complimentary of his experience at Illinois.
"I really liked the camp. We got a tour of the campus. I want to go into physical science, so I definitely like the student part of campus."
Already well acquainted with defensive coordinator and recruiting coach Vic Koenning, Newell commented on Illini defensive line coach Keith Gilmore.
"I really liked him. He's definitely a good coach. The o-line always holds, so I learned how to get their hands off."
College considerations are in their infancy for Newell. He has some idea what he wants in a school, but right now he's just soaking in everything for future reference.
"I definitely want to look for the atmosphere, and definitely the coaches and the facilities. Other than that, I'm just along for the ride."