When he was younger, C.J. Sanders had a passion for acting, so much so that the Nashville (Tenn.) Brentwood Academy sophomore wide receiver moved to Hollywood to pursue his dream.
He ended up making plenty of waves out in California, starring in the Oscar-winning film "Ray" as a young Ray Charles, as well as in TV shows such as "Grey's Anatomy," "Six Feet Under" and "Cold Case."
But as he got older, Sanders decided he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and pursue a new dream -- to play college football.
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Now, just two years into his high school career, Sanders is well on his way. Sanders is a key player on a Brentwood Academy team that features five-star USC commit Jalen Ramsey and three-star Florida commit Max Staver.
"I just try to make plays when the ball comes my way," said Sanders, who has four touchdowns this season. "We have a superstar in Jalen and most balls go to him, which is fine with me, I just try to do what I can when I get the ball in my hands."
With his acting career on the back burner for the time being, Sanders said he's all in on football now. However, it doesn't mean he's closing the door on a return to California.
"My favorite right now is Stanford," said Sanders, who holds offers from the Cardinal as well as Mississippi State and Tennessee. "I'm go back to California every Christmas break and I'm going to take an unofficial visit."
Sanders said he's close friends with current Stanford offensive lineman Graham Shuler and likes what he's heard so far about the Cardinal as a program.
"I've heard a lot about them through Graham," Sanders said. "I really want to get out there and see the football facilities and obviously their academic program speaks for itself."
Sanders also said he's planning to take unofficial visits to Knoxville and Starkville, but there's one school he's really hoping to pick an offer up from soon.
"I would love to get an offer from Ohio State," said Sanders, whose father Chris played for the Buckeyes in the early 90's. "It would mean a lot to me and my dad … I love Ohio State."
This offseason, Sanders plans to hit the camp and combine circuit, with likely stops at LSU, Tennessee, USC and others.
In the meantime, he's focused on soaking up as much knowledge as he can from his older teammates.
"I've learned a lot from Jalen and Max," Sanders said. "Jalen plays with a lot of heart and has taught me to go full speed on every play. Max is a great quarterback and I feel like playing with him his preparing me for what to expect when I do get to college."
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