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Boardroom NIL Report Card: Ohio State Quarterback CJ Stroud

As one of the top QB prospects in the upcoming draft, it’s no surprise to see CJ Stroud leave for the NFL — but before he goes, let’s look back on his impact on the NIL endorsement market.

On Monday, Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback CJ Stroud made official what many expected for some time now when he declared for the 2023 NFL Draft on Monday. It was the final day for underclassmen to declare.

The move isn’t surprising in the slightest, as Stroud is viewed as one of football’s top QB prospects heading into the draft. In his most recent mock draft published on Tuesday, The Athletic’s Dane Brugler had the two-time Heisman finalist slated to go No. 5 overall.

That said, NIL has changed the game for some NFL prospects, perhaps leading many who are on the fence about the next level back to college. Stroud’s case is a bit different in that he’s likely to go in the top 10, earning himself millions of dollars. Should he go in the top five, as projected, he could earn himself upwards of $20 million in signing bonus money alone.

So while that’s a no-brainer of a decision, let’s not pretend that he didn’t have a sweet alternative to fall back on, should he have decided to stay with the Buckeyes. Stroud certainly isn’t hurting in the money department thanks to his collection of NIL endorsement deals while an Ohio State athlete.

According to On3.com, Stroud finished the season at No. 4 in the college football NIL rankings with a $2.8 million estimated valuation. That puts him behind only Alabama’s Bryce Young, USC’s Caleb Williams, and soon-to-be Texas freshman Arch Manning (who hasn’t even stepped foot on a collegiate field yet).

Before he departs for the next level, Boardroom breaks down the complete CJ Stroud NIL earnings story at Ohio State.

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CJ Stroud’s NIL Market Value

All data via On3.com’s NIL rankings as of Jan. 16, 2023.

College football NIL rank: 4
Overall NIL rank: 6
10-week high: $2,800,000
10-week low: $2,400,000

Notable CJ Stroud NIL Deals

Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW)

Through Ohio State’s NIL collective, The Foundation, Stroud was able to secure a deal with DSW alongside his teammate, wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. The exact dollar amount of the deal, which launched in September, is unavailable, but the totality of the deal for the two players — as well as another deal between American Eagle and teammates TreVeyon Henderson and Denzel Burke — comes out to $550,000 collectively, The Foundation said.

“DSW men’s is growing as we continue to acquire and engage new male customers. As part of this growth, we are investing in partnerships for DSW to build awareness of our incredible men’s assortment,” said DSW Chief Marketing Officer Julie Roy. “Leveraging the style authority of young athletes like CJ and Jaxon speaks to current and new customers in relevant and inspiring ways.”

Express

Stroud teamed up with Smith-Njigba again in this NIL deal with Express, a company that happens to be based in Columbus, Ohio. Essentially an ambassador for the brand, Stroud even got his teammates in on the action by giving each one of them a $500 gift card from Express to get right for game days. I certainly wouldn’t mind having him as my QB1 in college, that’s for sure.

Additional Stroud NIL deals

Value City Furniture, Kane Footwear, Dr. Teal’s, eFuse

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About The Author
Griffin Adams
Griffin Adams
Griffin Adams is an Editor at Boardroom. He's had previous stints with The Athletic and Catena Media, and has also seen his work appear in publications such as USA Today, Sports Illustrated, and MLB.com. A University of Utah graduate, he can be seen obnoxiously cheering on the Utes on Saturdays and is known to Trust The Process as a loyal Philadelphia 76ers fan.