College football reacts to Bryce Young, Alabama's $1 million man
HOOVER, Ala. — Bryce Young wasn’t at SEC Media Days on Tuesday. The sophomore quarterback won’t even be one of Alabama’s two representatives when the Crimson Tide arrives at the event Wednesday. That didn’t stop him from becoming the main talking point of the day.
Young found his name in the headlines early in the day after Alabama head coach Nick Saban revealed that the quarterback had already grossed nearly $1 million in endorsement deals off his name, image and likeness (NIL).
"Certain positions, probably, enhance opportunities to create value, like quarterback, and our quarterback already has approached ungodly numbers — I'm not going to say what they are — and he hasn't even played yet. Hasn't even started," Saban said via The Athletic. "... It’s almost seven figures. And it's like, the guy hasn't even played yet. But that's because of our brand."
That’s right, seven figures. And that’s just what Young has been able to net since July 1 when college athletes in Alabama have been legally able to earn revenue from their NIL.
It didn’t take long for news of Young’s earnings to spread across the college football world. It’s safe to say Saban isn’t the only head coach taken back by the quarterback's marketability.
“That number just blew me away,” Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin said upon learning of Young’s endorsement earnings. “You didn't prepare me for that. That's amazing. He made a million dollars and hasn't started a game yet? Wow, I don't even know what to respond to that, but great for him.
“It is neat the players can make money now and profit off of their hard work and what basically everybody else in America gets to do. So I'm excited about it. I think it's very challenging trying to figure out how these things happen and what's legal and what's not in all that. I was asked earlier about it. I said, I'm excited for it. I wouldn't want to be compliance departments, but a million dollars, whew.”
Kiffin, who provided quite a few quotes about Saban and Alabama on the day, was so shocked by the news that he circled back on it when asked a completely unrelated question about the injury status of Ole Miss running back Jerrion Ealy.
“I'm still blown away on this Bryce Young,” Kiffin said. “The guy's made a million dollars already? That's good, man. He don't need to play next year against us, then. I mean, that's mind-blowing.”
Earlier this month, Yahoo! Sports reported that Young signed with Creative Arts Agency, one of the biggest sports agencies in the NFL. The NCAA is permitting NFL agents to represent college athletes exclusively for NIL agreements.
Despite having yet to start a game at the college level, Young is already one of the biggest names in college football. Last month, the sophomore was given the second-best odds to win the Heisman Trophy by SuperBook Sports.
“He’s a stud,” said Georgia quarterback JT Daniels, who proceeded Young at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif. “He’s a star player. When I had left Mater Dei and they got Bryce — I had known Bryce since I was an eighth-grader and he was a seventh-grader. I knew back then he was a special player.”
Daniels was one of several players asked about NIL on Tuesday. The Georgia quarterback claims he’s “fully in season mode” and stated it’s “just not a huge focus” for him at the moment.
Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corrall referred to the NCAA’s new NIL policy as a blessing, stating that he believes it will help give athletes life-changing opportunities.
“I think that's going to be really good for people that didn't have the luxury growing up,” he said. “These five-star kids coming from the slums of Miami that just didn't really get the luxury of other kids on the football team. Just being able to create a different opportunity for their family.”
Saban and Alabama will take to the podium Wednesday at SEC Media Days. Young won’t be present, but best believe he’ll once again be one of the main focuses on the day.