The day finally came, a new era of college sports has begun. NCAA athletes are now allowed to profit off their name, image, and likeness. The Supreme Court ruled that college players could receive money on their name rights. Who are the top five players that would’ve cashed out with the new NIL rule?
Honorable Mention: Tim Tebow, Desmond Howard, Brian Bozworth, Lamar Jackson, Hershel Walker, Charles Woodson
5. Bo Jackson
Bo Knows! And Bo Jackson would’ve known how to break the bank. He was a two-sport athlete. Jackson’s elite achievements in multiple sports have given him the reputation as one of the greatest athletes of all time. Jackson finished his career at Auburn with 4,575 all-purpose yards and 45 total touchdowns. Jackson’s football number 34 was officially retired at Auburn. Receiving endorsements in football and baseball would set him apart from the rest of the pack.
Lawernce had the long hair, the smile, and the California good looks. The former Clemson quarterback came into college football, and he delivered. Lawerance was a Heisman candidate every year and a part of every big game in the ACC. He was a National Championship contender for three years and won a championship. Clemson versus Alabama rivalry took hold of college football as few out-of-conference games had before. Lawernce was at the forefront of the sport for three years. That bright smile would’ve been in every commercial leading up to the College Football Playoffs.
3. Johnny Manziel
Manziel was outstanding at Texas A&M; his over-the-top personality matched his wild but great play. During his two-year stretch as a starter in 2012-13, he was the biggest star in college football as “Johnny Football.” Bursting onto the scene as a redshirt freshman, Manziel wowed in his first season; he passed 3,706 yards and 26 touchdowns en route to a Heisman Trophy and beating Alabama. There was nothing conventual about the QB. Manziel became a phenomenon and would go on to trademark the nickname “Johnny Football.” His play was perfect for social media highlights. His personal Johnny Football merchandise would’ve flown off shelves as he embarked on a road to the Heisman.
2. Deion Sanders
What time is it? It’s prime time! Because of his swag and charisma, he would’ve been an endorsement king. He would be on every commercial during Florida State games. The flashy play and smile of Sanders bring eyes to any product. The defensive back, wide receiver, and return specialist were always on the field. He coined the phrase “Prime Time”; already pushing himself for marketing purposes in college. With NIL in his day, he would’ve dominated the endorsement market. Name, image, and likeness were made for a player like Sanders.
The Trojans became must-see TV and the hottest ticket in sports. Reggie Bush was a part of a dynasty that brought USC millions, if not billions of dollars. Bush, QB Matt Leinart, and Running back Lendale White helped bring renewed interest and swag back to the program. Bush made the SportsCenter Top 10 every week. He was magic on the field, won a national championship and a Heisman Trophy. The NCAA rescinded his trophy for violations that are now legal. He also was a part of one of the greatest games ever played against Vince Young and Texas. He capped off his career by being the cover player for the NCAA college football game. The game rivaled Madden as one of the most popular video games at the time. Bush would’ve made millions of endorsements, jersey sales, appearances, and the royalties from the NCAA football game. He ended his last season with 19 touchdowns.