♪ this is "nightline." >> tonight, young recruits. three footed 4re67b-year-old already getting offers from major universities. intense daily workouts designed to take him from pre-teen to protocols. >> you might see a kid cry because he's hit so hard. >> how can college recruiting younger and younger but is it too much too soon. >> plus the monkey that drove the internet ban hip new sensation celebrating her birthday, team fiona brings us up close to their 600 pound
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contacted already by college recruiters. but how long is too long. chris connelly takes another look. >> the lightning quickness of of odell beckham jr. the poise and position of tom brady. and the drive and determination of marshawn lynch. >> football makes them special. >> this is his destiny. >> now colleges are hoping to discover the next football legend on a field like this one. >> the way he moves is on a whole other level. >> recruiters scouting kid that's are ten years old and younger. >> he's a football phenomenon. >> eleven-year-old bunchy young doesn't just stand out because of his brightly colored hair or biblical verses on his arms what makes him a football sensation is this. >> i mean, he's a fast kid. i can't eventually even describe
how fast he is. >> nobody can touch me really, when you running people behind you but nobody can touch you. >> but he hasn't even finished the fifth day. one day bunchy's dad picked up the phone and university of illinois was on the line. >> he was like your son is amazing want to be able to build a relationship with you guys. >> scouting future football stars starting earlier than ever. >> keep up your arms, two feet in, drive. two feet in. drive. >> eager to fuel the football dreams of these super young athletes is this man. >> quick drive it all the way through, sid. >> mike evans owns a football academy in california for the last two years has provided intensive drills and training to bunchy and 200 other aspiring
athletes some as l. young as five. >> this will either make you a dog are make you average. >> quick. push. push. push. >> on five. pull. >> now down. >> up, up. hit. hit. let's go. move your feet. get here. >> in the game you let a dude get a sack on you. answer the question. you might see somebody see a kid cry because it hit so hard. >> you got to be stronger, bro. >> 3, 2, good job. >> stand up college player at louisville, he uses his contacts to get his kids noticed by recruiters across the country. >> everyone in the culture world i have ties to know i won't talk about a kid unless he's a good kid.
that's my credibility. >> there we go get it. >> kids like bunchy's friend. >> we've known each other since we were three years old or two and half. >> he got a offer from university of nevada. >> how did nevada find out about you. >> by social media and mike. >> quick, push. >> you've had eight college coaches come by? >> yes that was the second week we opened. people say call me when they in high school. i'm like if you don't get them now then who knows where they going to go in high school. lot of coaches are like send me the videosio. >> lane kiffin is head coach at florida atlantic university and recruited young kids himself. >> it's younger and younger where we are at now. we research and find the kid before anybody else. >> evan is trying to drum of interest in 15 of his most elite players.
not everyone likes the sound of that. >> this is absurd on so many levels. so you are 11 or 12-year-old who has an offer from the college even though we know they can change their minds how hard is it when all of the adults have directed you in in manner. >> is there ever a moment bunchy says i would rather stay home today. i don't want to go to practice. >> oh, yeah. i said to be the best you got to practice when you don't want to praktd. it's a grind son. it's a grind. that's what makes champions. >> people of course saying, these kids are so young. >> i rather a kid thinking about college now then thinking about joining a gang. >> got hands, bro. >> it's not just about football. you know, it's about opening these kid's minds that there is more to life than the communities that we come from.
>> what's that mean for a university to offer a ten-year-old? >> it's letting the kid know that he is special and they were first to do it. >> we don't call the kid first and off the kid. we calls the family first say does he want to handle this. is he mature enough it won't go to his head. >> neither illinois or nevada won't confirm saying they don't talk about unsigned recruits. both boys understand it's not binding for either side more symbolic. >> it's not like the kid is going to play college football at nine years old that's impossible. >> i just thought it was unbelievable. >> the football training, the headlines shs and the talent, have all turned bunky and haven into pre-teen celebrities. >> people ever say can i take a selfie with you. >> oh, i get that a lot. at least -- whew i don't know how many times, i get that a lot. >> later in 2017 bunchie names s
sports illustrated kid of the year flown to new york city. >> j.j. watt! >> what's up man. >> you are dressed 100 times better than me. keep working hard most importantly have fun. enjoy it. be a kid have fun. good luck my friend. >> the ultimate dream for some of these kids may be the nfl. evan says for him and the parents it's a college scholarship. >> it's about getting these kids prepared not only as athletes but as young men and giving them the discipline they need. >> we know nfl stands not for long but college degree college education lasts forever. >> evan expanded his training facility to include an accredited school and herman will be studios this fall. he just turned seven n lad
likely have a scholarship offer by summer. >> much better. >> the first grader is already the size of a fifth grader. but should kids this young be playing tackle football. some states are trying to ban young children from the spot. recent study showing playing tackle under 12 could increase the risk of brain damage. >> i'm going to make sure his brain is protected. >> no brain damage. >> that is still my biggist fear is head-to-head contact. >> just got to pray in practice and keep going. that's what we love to do so we going to do it. >> why aren't the kids playing flag football. >> our kids love contact. i feel they have to learn how to play safe, that's why we do it at such a young zblaj wh. >> what's it like to get
tackled. >> i usually score touchdowns, i don't really get tackled. >> against the all-star game it's a shutout loss and mike evans gives the kids a talking to. >> all of the bad habits, got any of that crying it's out, y'all about to become big boys, if you take that to high school i'm going to tell you right now, you got to be playing. that's the last game we ever going to lose. understand that? >> yes, sir. >> win or lose these kids have big dream that's go way beyond football. >> i will get my college degree and help the homeless. >> well if i can't play sports i want to be mayor of hollywood. >> you want to be mayor of hollywood? >> yeah. >> for "nightline" i'm chris connelly in los angeles. >> next, let her eat cake. this happy hippo's amazing
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♪ tonight we revisit a social media heavyweight, pun intended, she's a hippo named fiona, she gained millions of devoted fans as care takers nursed her to health in a series of facebook individualsios. videos. our series of soercial stars. >> she's the unlikely viral star. >> look at this. >> hey kutdy. >> oh, my goodness.
>> splashing the way into the hearts of millions around the globe. >> she's a deef walk. >> she is a ham. >> fiona the hippo. from premature baby to friend. even featured on ice cream. >> come on fiona over here. >> joining the ranks of celebs, including nala the cat 3.5 million followers and april the giraffe last year gave birth and 14 million watched live in one day. hippos are not exactly the cuddliest of animals so how did this one become a celebrity. it began in the woman the first it nile hippo to be born in the cincinnati zoo in 75 years but she almost didn't make it, her mother bibi went no labor six
months early. >> her lungs weren't strong enough neither was her overall muscle control. >> and weighed 29 pounds. typical at weight 55-120. >> she was placed into a ad hoc hippo nicu and put on an iv and put on around the clock care at the zoo staff fighting to keep the baby hippo alive. >> we n didn't know what was in hippo milk, had to send off the animal's milk. >> small moments becoming big victories as the world watched as she learned to stand. >> i stand. i'm a big girl. >> how to swim. and even took her first steps. >> i became emotionally attached, just like the rest of the world, and a few times i
really didn't think she was going to survive. >> but the a little bit one didn't just survive she thrived. >> so to see her start crossing those lines that we didn't even know she would ever hit she just blew everybody out of the water. >> as she grew so did her following. here's the six week old fiona stubbornly learning how to walk up and down a ramp. the tiny triumph viewed over 21 million times on facebook. she more than doubled the zoo's following. >> we are weening her off the bottle. she gets grain. hay. and let didn't tuc e. watermelon and pumpkin are some of her favorite. >> hi to get my up front encounter to the social media star and she played perfectly to the camera. >> strike a pose little one.
>> a true diva in action. >> what's it like day in and day out seeing the crowds come visit. >> it's still amazing, still to this day when you let her out you hear the crowd throwing crazy. >> fiona is a bright spot for a zoo that recently survived a controversial killing of a silver back gorilla after a child plunged into the enclosure. >> a three-year-old child has fallen into the gorilla cage. >> the scene, ten minutes of horror. boit's mother watching helplessly from above. >> oh, my god. >> then a critical calculation by school officials to shoot the 450 pound animal to save the child's life. >> last year was a tough year with his killing how has this changed the zoo. >> last year was a challenging time particularly for the people who worked directly with the gorilla because animal care
givers, zoo keepers work with their animals and it's like we two with our pets and also like our kids, i mean, they love their animals so that was a hard time. >> but in 2017 baby fiona changed the mood at the zoo. record attendance followed up by 20% from the previous year. >> what is the fiona effect. >> she's represented hope and being safe and love. people love that animal. >> fiona's under dog story providing rare common ground in a divisive year. >> who can't get behind a sweet baby >> her restiilience resonates wh the visitsitors. >> by have had losses alongside her really exciting. >> little kids would write
handwritten letters, fiona i was a premiumy too and i'm okay here's a picture of me on my soccer team. you can grow up and be a hippo. >> her short life story now being told in books. >> i got to come to the media previo preview and saw her for the first time and completely lost all journalistic integrity and freaked out in front of the window. >> fiona loves to play it up for the crowds. here she is. hi. look at this. >> today fiona is happy, healthy and hefty, weighing more than 700 pounds. she recently celebrated her first birthday. >> she has a bright future ahead. lots of fans. lots of lettuce maybe years down the road will have a young man in her future. >> we'll have to vet him
strongly. >> for "nightline" in cincinnati. >> whoa stroll your roll this just in from the san antonio zoo timothy the hippo posting on facebook dear fiona i think you're the most beautiful hippo i've seen. i'm single an add available. i hope you hippo swipe right. with you the cincinnati zoo says fiona is way too young to be thinking about boys. coming up on "nightline" a good friday basketball blessing. >> announcer: abc news "nightline" brought to you by -- t to you by -- are cream conditioners bringing your hair down? from the world's number one conditioner brand... new pantene light-as-air foam conditioner, full of rich pro-v nutrients... ...and infused with air. for 100% conditioning, with 0% weight. strong is beautiful.
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♪ finally tonight, as march madness comes to a close for another year it's refreshing to see the biggest star of this year's tournament isn't even a player, 98-year-old sister jean smith team chaplin for university chicago the a court side viral sensation. her congratulating players. and inspiring a line of apparel and best selling bobblehead. in tomorrow's final four game
sister jean says she's giving up losing for lent. >> i always ask god to be sure that the scoreboard indicates that the ramblers have a big w. >> now that sister has faith. in hebrews 11: 1, faith is substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen somebody say a little bitten. a little amen. get ready for spring-at the ross spring shoe event. ross has the must-have styles and brands for a fraction of what you'd pay elsewhere. step one: get to ross. step two: walk out with top brands at big savings... ...at the ross spring shoe event.