In terms of monetary value, some college athletes went from having nothing to being able to swim in money seemingly overnight. College football is set to kickoff August 27 and it will be the second season players can cash in on their name, image and likeness (NIL).
NIL deals can range from literally any amount of money or gifts, whether that’d be clothing or a brand new car. It should come as no surprise that the Heisman favorites are able to sign some of the biggest NIL deals.
NIL does not allow schools and boosters to pay players to play, but the schools with the best connections usually land the biggest stars for the most amount of dollars.
2022 Heisman Trophy odds
Alabama QB Bryce Young won the Heisman Trophy last season. He finished with 47 passing touchdowns to just four interceptions, 4,322 yards and a 68% completion percentage. Young, now a junior, led the Crimson Tide to a 12-1 record and a berth in the National Championship game.
Michigan DE Aidan Hutchinson, Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett and Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud were all finalists last season. As Hutchinson and Pickett became first round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, Young and Stroud are each returning to their respective schools.
Young will look to go back-to-back for the first time since Ohio State running back Archie Griffin accomplished the feat in 1974-75.
Here are the top Heisman Trophy favorites on FanDuel sportsbook in PA:
- Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud: +200
- Alabama QB Bryce Young: +400
- USC QB Caleb Williams: +600
- Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei: +2500
- Oklahoma QB Dillon Gabriel: +3000
- Alabama LB Will Anderson: +3000
- Miami QB Tyler Van Dyke: +4000
DraftKings PA sportsbook has a different top seven:
- Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud: +250
- Alabama QB Bryce Young: +350
- USC QB Caleb Williams: +700
- Alabama LB Will Anderson: +2000
- Texas RB Bijan Robinson: +2000
- Ohio State WR: Jaxon Smith-Njigba: +2500
- Oklahoma QB Dillon Gabriel: +3000
Some of the biggest college football NIL deals
Bryce Young and other Heisman Trophy favorites get a ton of buzz, and rightfully so. Because of that, it’s no surprise that the top players in college football take advantage of their stature with the NIL deals they sign.
Alabama QB Bryce Young NIL
Young has a lot of NIL deals piling up. Though compensation numbers aren’t widely available, it is believed that Young made close to $1 million entering last season.
He has deals with Fanatics, Cash App, Subway, Lead, Onyx Authenticated, New Life Art and Logan’s Roadhouse. Young also inked a deal with BMW Tuscaloosa. Alabama coach Nick Saban has a deal with BMW competitor Mercedes.
Young is represented by CAA, one of the largest talent agencies in the world. CAA also represents college football broadcasters Paul Finebaum and Kirk Herbstreit.
According to On3, a website that uses various indexes such as performance, social media following and endorsement deals to determine the value of college athletes, Young’s valuation is $3.1 million.
Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud NIL
Stroud, who finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting last season, is the favorite to win it this year. The junior has NIL deals with Value City Furniture, Designer Shoe and Warehouse, Sarchione Auto Gallery, Onyx Authenticated, Athletic Brewing, Bose and Express.
In Stroud’s deal with Sarchione Auto Gallery, the dealership is giving him a $150,000 pre-owned Bentley Bentayga.
On3 values Stroud at $2.4 million.
USC QB Caleb Williams NIL
Caleb Williams put himself on the map last season after he took over for Spencer Rattler at Oklahoma. Williams threw 21 touchdowns and four interceptions in 11 games as a freshman. After coach Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma for USC in November 2021, Williams followed.
The sophomore has deals inked with Fanatics, Beats by Dre, Faculty, Ac+ion Water and Hawkins Way Capital.
Williams most recently signed a deal with Hall of Goats, which is an NFT platform.
On3 has a $2.4 million value on Williams.
Miami QB has largest NIL deal ever
NIL is now a huge part in the recruiting process of high school players.
Incoming Miami QB Jaden Rashada signed a $9.5 million NIL deal, which is believed to be the largest deal ever. Rashada signed the deal while at Pittsburg High School in California. He’s on target to graduate in the spring of 2023. It is also reported that Rashada turned down an $11 million offer to go to Florida.
The Ohio State quarterback room at one point was worth a lot of money. Buckeyes freshman Quinn Ewers, backing up the $2.4 million Stroud last season, graduated from high school a year early to cash in on his own NIL deal. Ewers signed a three-year, $1.4 million deal with autograph company GTSM.
Ewers transferred to attend Texas this season, where he’s driving a new Aston Martin with a burnt orange interior and paddle shifters. The car came after he signed a deal with Fortnite. Ewers’ teammate, running back Bijan Robinson, has deals with Raising Canes and C4 Energy. Robinson, most recently signing a deal with Lamborghini, is valued at $1.2 million by On3.
NIL deals are not short on creativity, either. The entire Texas offensive line on scholarship will be provided $50,000 a year, however, the money must support charitable causes. The Longhorns have 16 offensive lineman on scholarship, which adds up to an $800,000 NIL deal.
The school cashing in the most is Ohio State. The Buckeyes have more than 1,000 NIL deals and lead the country in compensation and the number of athletes with at least one NIL deal.
Pitt lost star receiver due to NIL opportunities
With NIL as lucrative as it is, it almost feels like college athletes are free agents. Former Pittsburgh WR and Biletnikoff Award-winner Jordan Addison left the Panthers in May to join USC because of NIL deals.
Addison was expected to make $3.5 million for the Trojans. That is more than USC alum JuJu Smith-Schuster, who’s making $3.25 million for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Addison is reportedly “pissed” over the NIL deals falling through at USC.
Now, USC coach Lincoln Riley is being accused of tampering to get Addison to transfer to USC.
NIL can be great, but it can also be messy.
Lead image John Minchillo/AP