Six Teens Who Will Rule the Future in Sports

This story appears in the FUTURE ISSUE, the Nov. 19–26, 2018, edition of Sports Illustrated.

What does the future hold for sports? Is it gene splicing? Positionless football? While no one can say for sure, this package presents a pragmatic look at the people and trends we expect to dominate the next era. For more great prognosticating and storytelling, subscribe to the magazine—and get up to 94% off the cover price. Click here for more.

The Future Issue

They're already head and shoulders above their peers, and there's every reason to expect that these six youngsters—the best of the best at each age—will dominate headlines and stat lines for years (and decades) to come.

Simon Bruty
JORDAN HORSTON
17, COLUMBUS, OHIO

TODAY

This summer the senior guard shone at the FIBA World Cup in Belarus, where she led the USA under-17 team to a gold medal and was named tournament MVP. Last season, as a junior at Columbus Africentric Early College, she averaged 18.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists en route to a state championship.

TOMORROW

The No. 2 recruit in the country, Jordan, who grew up idolizing Pat Summitt, will play for Tennessee next season. Horston has one goal: "I want to win a national championship." She also is set on fulfilling her dream of making it to the WNBA.

Simon Bruty

IN THE YEAR 2030

Jordan, who has a 4.0 GPA in high school, plans to have accomplished plenty by the time she's in her 30s. "I want to win multiple national championships," she says. "I want to be an All-America. I want to play in an Olympics, win a gold medal.


Robert Leverone
AKSHAY BHATIA
16, WAKE FOREST, N.C.

TODAY

Akshay, a junior at Penn Foster High, an online school, is putting together quite a résumé: He's won the Junior PGA Championship (twice), the Junior Invitational and the AJGA Polo Junior Classic. At last year's Junior PGA he broke Pat Perez's 24-year scoring record, and this year he became the tournament's first back-to-back winner. In October, Akshay was named the AJGA Player of the Year, an award that has been given to Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods.

Robert Leverone

TOMORROW

Akshay is aiming to be on the pro tour by 2020. He's looking forward to going head-to-head with the best. "It'd be pretty cool to play with Brooks Koepka," he says.

IN THE YEAR 2030

Akshay's goal is simple: "To be the No. 1 player in the world."


Jeffrey A. Salter
TAMARI DAVIS
15, GAINESVILLE, FLA.

TODAY

At the Class 3A Florida state championships in May, Tamari set a world record for 15-year-olds, finishing the 200 meters in 22.48.

Jeffrey A. Salter

TOMORROW

Tamari plans to make a mark at the Tokyo Games in 2020. "I want to be the youngest sprinter in the final or on the medal stand," she says.

Jeffrey A. Salter

IN THE YEAR 2030

Tamari has her sights set on Florence Griffith-Joyner's 30-year-old records in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. "No one's been close," she says. "If I get it, that would be amazing."


Robert Beck

 

CLAIRE TUGGLE
14, CLOVIS, CALIF.

TODAY

At the Junior National Championships in August, Claire swam the second-fastest 200-meter freestyle ever in the 13--14 age group, just behind Missy Franklin's record.

TOMORROW

A freshman at Clovis North High with dreams of swimming at Stanford, Claire will turn 16 less than a month before the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Robert Beck

IN THE YEAR 2030

Claire hopes to compete in three Olympics by then and plans to be done swimming by the time she's 30.


 

David E. Klutho
David E. Klutho

 

JAYLON MCKENZIE
13, BELLEVILLE, ILL.

TODAY

An eighth-grader at Central Junior High, Jaylon—who plays running back, receiver and defensive back—drew national attention when he caught five passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns to help the East team to a victory at the NFL's 8th Grade All-American Game in Canton, Ohio, in August. Last year, Jaylon rushed for 1,546 yards and 21 TDs for his youth football team, the East St. Louis Jr. Flyers. (A broken collarbone has limited his workload this season.)

TOMORROW

Asked what he wants to accomplish, Jaylon says, "Make the NFL." He hopes to follow in the footsteps of Titans cornerback Adoree' Jackson, a star at USC, who is also from the St. Louis suburb of Belleville and also played both ways. But before Jaylon takes on the NFL, he has to go to high school.

IN THE YEAR 2030

Jaylon expects to be playing in the NFL. His dream? To be a star in L.A.—for the Rams or the Chargers.


Jeffrey A. Salter
ELIJIA BARNEY
12, GULFPORT, MISS.

TODAY

The legend of the 5'8", 163-pound corner infielder who hits towering home runs is already growing. Playing for the Green Wave travel team last summer, Elijia went deep 18 times in just 58 at bats; at the USSSA Global World Series he hit five homers in 14 at bats. The seventh-grader at Central Middle School comes from a long line of athletic luminaries. Elijia's great-great-uncle Lem Barney was an NFL Hall of Fame cornerback; his grandfather Milton Barney Sr. played wide receiver for the Falcons; and his father, Jeffery Barney, was an all-conference shortstop at Grambling State.

Jeffrey A. Salter

TOMORROW

Last July, Grambling offered Elijia a scholarship. He looks forward to following in his dad's footsteps (though he wouldn't necessarily say no if another school came knocking).

Jeffrey A. Salter

IN THE YEAR 2030

Elijia also plays football and basketball, but his dream is to suit up for the Dodgers. That could be as a pitcher—he threw a no-hitter last season—but it's more likely to be as a slugger. As Elijia puts it, "Everyone loves the home run ball."

 

 

 

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)