This year’s Heisman finalists have more to gain than just bragging rights. We look at how the four stars have embraced NIL.
It’s been a college football season to remember. From quadruple overtimes to seismic upsets, fans have gotten all they could want from their favorite teams, even before bowl season begins.
But an undercurrent of buzz surrounding NIL has persisted, regardless of what’s happened on the field. This year, fans have seen more of their favorite players beyond the gridiron, as they were able to cash in on their name, image, and likeness for the first time.
Through it all, Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Kenny Pickett, and Aidan Hutchinson pulled together awe-inspiring campaigns, emerging as the four finalists for this year’s Heisman Trophy.
The official announcement will come Saturday during the ceremony at Lincoln Center, but for now, here’s a look back on how each athlete made their mark on the NIL landscape.
Bryce Young, Alabama QB (So.)
Agent: Ed Barry
Social Following: 145k IG; 33.4K Twitter
- Cash App
- Logan’s Roadhouse
C.J. Stroud, Ohio State QB (Fr.)
Agent: David Mulugheta
Social Following: 82.5k IG; 18.7k Twitter
- Outback Steakhouse
- Athletic Brewing (NA Beer)
- Coughlin Cars
Kenny Pickett, Pitt QB (Sr.)
Social Following: 37.9k IG; 17.4k Twitter
- Fifth Season
- Next Move Network®️
- Oaklander Hotel
- Bowser Auto
Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan DE (Sr.)
Social Following: 63.5k IG; 29.8kTwitter
- Dr. Pepper
- PSD Underwear
- The Players Trunk
- Traeger Grills
While records conceal the full value of these deals, an educated guess would indicate that Bryce Young won the NIL race. In addition to his stacked portfolio of deals, he also hosts the Bryce Young Podcast produced by iHeartMedia. With the dawn of NIL, the sophomore quarterback and Heisman frontrunner laid the foundation early, signing with CAA’s Barry. And they made quick work. Before the season started, Young had amassed a suite of deals totaling what his head coach Nick Saban called “an ungodly amount,” estimated to be worth more than $1 million.
Of course, a Heisman win would only increase his value. By a lot. Don’t be surprised if we’re having this same conversation about him next year…with some bigger estimated numbers and a longer lists of endorsements.