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Football players dominate top-10 NIL valuations

Everyone in the college sports world knew that was coming. But very few believed it would turn into the monster it is today… in hindsight, what were we expecting?

Name Image and Likeness is the way that college athletes can be compensated through promotional, marketing, and branding deals.

On Wednesday, On3 announced its official list of top-10 NIL valuations for all college athletes.

LeBron James' son, Bronny, is top of the list projected to make $7.2 Million in 2023. And he hasn't even committed to a college program yet.

In all honesty, it's a murky world. It's hard to know exactly how much players are receiving in compensation and it's almost impossible to rule out tampering and interfering.

Just last December, North Carolina Head Coach Mack Brown accused other programs of attempting to lure his star quarterback away from Chapel Hill in the form of lucrative NIL deals.

Regardless of the evident problems NIL possesses, it is only going to grow.

Unsurprisingly, college football players take up over half of the top 10.

Arch Manning is the second name on the list. He is yet to dawn a Texas uniform and most likely won't see the field in 2023. Yet he has the potential to make the most earnings from his Name, Image, and Likeness this season.

The second highest potential earner on the football field is Caleb Williams who is slated to make $2.6 million.

It doesn't come as much of a surprise considering he is a Heisman trophy winner and the unanimous top quarterback in the country.

He even had NFL media speculating if teams will pass up on all the quarterbacks in the 2023 draft to wait for Caleb Williams in 2024.

Caleb Williams is also returning to a massive, lucrative market in Los Angeles. It's a perfect storm to create a tremendous NIL deal.

It will be very interesting to see what happens at the end of the 2023 season with Caleb Williams and USC.

Nov 5, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) throws on the sideline during the second quarter against the California Golden Bears at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Usually, a player of his magnitude and talent would jump to the NFL as soon as possible to capitalize on his monetary value. But in today's college football world, players like Caleb can stay in college longer and receive payment.

And there's no doubt that the USC boosters will dig into their pockets to keep Caleb around an extra few years.

With Coach Prime's move to Colorado, it wasn't a surprise to see two of his top players follow him.

Travis Hunter and Shedeur Sanders were two stand-out players for Jackson State last year who have decided to follow him to Colorado. And they have both made a pretty penny as a result.

They have valuations of $1.7 and $1.5 million, respectively.

Drake Maye, who we mentioned earlier, choose to stay in North Carolina and not enter the transfer portal.

He still makes the top-10 list with a $1.5 million projection. A number that would almost certainly be pushing the top athletes in the country if he had taken the reported tampering offers and attended a larger football school.

Also with a $1.5 million projection to round off the six football players in the NIL top-10 is Bo Nix.

Nix could have been a mid-round selection in the 2023 NFL draft if he had come out of school. But he has decided to return to school and play out his fifth year of eligibility.

NIL could have been a factor in his decision.

Not only does the thought of playing out another year in hopes of raising his draft stock to a first-round pick convince him to stay. But now he can be financially compensated for it.

These NIL figures are mere projections made by On3. It's an algorithm that uses player brand deals, exposure, and influence to determine a projected value.

There are no hard and set figures that show how much collegiate athletes are making. And maybe that's for the best.

College athletes are finally able to make money for the work they do for their universities. But the must proceed with caution as NIL deals become more prominent.

Ross Love
Ross Love
Cowboys fan and sports blogger from across the pond in Scotland. Tell me how wrong my opinions are on Twitter @rosslove22

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