Meet the Dynamic 10-Year-Old Phenom Who Is 'Sports Illustrated Kids' ' 2017 SportsKid of the Year

Maxwell "Bunchie" Young has already received a college scholarship offer — and he's just 10 years old

Photo: John W. McDonough/Sports Illustrated

At just 10 years old, Maxwell “Bunchie” Young is catching the eyes of thousands on social media thanks to his ferocious speed and agility in both football and track.

His talents have even earned him attention from college recruiters, but it’s his skills — combined with his giving spirit — that has made Bunchie an inspiration to kids in his community, earning him the title of Sports Illustrated Kids’ SportsKid of the Year.

“You have to give back to the people that don’t really have a lot of stuff,” Bunchie tells PEOPLE. “It really feels good deep down in the heart [to help] a lot of people.”


The pint-sized phenom from Los Angeles has accumulated a large social media following thanks to videos showcasing his blazing speed in track and football. Bunchie has torched his competition — he’s won long jump competitions and multiple 100- and 200-meter races, and scored an amazing 30 times in football games last year and 31 times through October 2017.

“Even when I’m not here, when I have to work late, man, he puts on his helmet, and he works out,” Dave Young, Bunchie’s father, tells PEOPLE. “He’ll come back in and say, “Daddy, I’m finished working out!’ ”

Bunchie’s accomplishments have already caught the attention of the University of Illinois, who have already offered him a scholarship to play football if he attends once he finishes high school. (The family is keeping his college options open for now.) But with expectations mounting, if you ask Bunchie, he doesn’t doubt he’ll live up to them.

“It’s a grind, but I gotta keep going. Every day is like really hard but you still gotta keep going,” he says. “You have a lot of people gunning for you and you have a lot of people trying to knock you off, so you really have to keep going. If you wanna be on the top you gotta put in the work.”

While Bunchie is a winner on the field, he is also one when off it. Every Christmas, Bunchie and his family donate toys and supplies to Union Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter located in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles. Not every kid is in as fortunate a position as he is, Bunchie says, and helping others brings him joy.

Along with pictures of him on the field, Bunchie’s Instagram page — which his father calls his “Instagram Ministry” — often showcase images captioned with inspirational messages rooted in something else important to him: his faith. Bunchie often has Bible chapters written on his arms or uniform during his games. These markings, coupled with his wide smile and bright hair colors — which have ranged from orange, purple, green, blue, turquoise, red and pink — make Bunchie easy to spot on the field (and anywhere else, for that matter).

The lightning-fast 10-year-old hopes to one day play in the NFL, after competing in track and field at the Olympics. Not only that, but Bunchie has even started planning for what he’ll do once he’s done with professional sports: Since he likes being a part of the student council at school, he’s considering running for mayor once he hangs up his cleats for good.

But first thing is first, and being named SportsKid of the Year may just be one of many accolades to come for the young athlete with a big heart.

“My dad was really happy when we heard I was SportsKid of the Year. My mom was really happy and everybody was really happy for me!” Bunchie says. “It’s truly a blessing.”

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