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16-year-old sprinter signs pro contract with Adidas

Florida's Erriyon Knighton is foregoing his high school eligibility and jumping straight to the professional ranks

Photo by: Twitter/247sports

Florida high school sprinting sensation Erriyon Knighton has signed a professional contract with Adidas. With his decision to turn pro, Knighton, 16, will forego his remaining years of high school eligibility (he is set to graduate in 2022). Since starting high school, Knighton has been the runner to beat in every event he enters, and he has won multiple gold medals at the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior Olympic Games in the U.S.  

In 2019, Knighton won the 200m at the Junior Olympics, running 21.15 seconds. Last year, he improved on that performance, winning the 200m once again with a PB of 20.33 (an AAU and U.S. high school sophomore record) and adding 100m gold to his medal haul with a 10.29 PB performance. “Last year, when I joined AAU I got my confidence and thought I am pretty good at this and I will stick with it as another sport,” Knighton told DyeStat last spring. “I wanted to go 10.4 or 10.3, but my plans changed after Junior Olympics.” 

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Knighton says his plans changed after his 10.29 run in 2020 because he is also one of the top young football prospects in the U.S. right now. He has reportedly already been recruited by some of the biggest NCAA programs in the U.S., including the University of Florida, and 247Sports lists him as a four-star wide receiver. With his decision to turn pro in track, he is officially leaving football behind. 

“Knowing that I grew up around football my whole life, and receiving a lot of D1 offers, it was a tough decision, but it was also a no-brainer,” Knighton told USA Today. “In track, the success of my career is fully in my hands, and I know that I can do it.” Along with his Adidas contract, Knighton has signed with sports agency Stellar Athletics, where he will be represented by former professional sprinters Ramon Clay and John Regis.

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“I know I can maximize to the next level,” Knighton said after the deal was made public. “I’ve got to see what I can do. I want to win against the top athletes, but I know they’re not going to make it easy on me, so I’m going to have to train real hard.”