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Clemson QB Partners With Dr. Pepper In Major Brand Endorsement Deal For College Athlete
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 19: Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei #5 of the Clemson Tigers warms up before the ACC Championship game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Bank of America Stadium on December 19, 2020 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

They haven’t been making front-page news, but the new Name, Image, and Likeness rules in NCAA sports are making a lot of noise. 

As college football season creeps ever closer, the money is starting to flow in for college athletes that have serious brand value. In July, Alabama head coach Nick Saban told a bunch of high school football coaches in Texas that quarterback Bryce Young was going to make “almost seven figures” before he even starts a game for the Crimson Tide. 

Saban knows exactly what he’s doing, making sure that recruits understand that the brand of Alabama football grants athletes an opportunity to make a lot of money off of their Name, Image, and Likeness. 

“That number just blew me away,” Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin said when he heard the news. “You didn’t prepare me for that. That’s amazing. He made $1 million and hasn’t started a game yet? Wow.”

“It’s obvious to me that Nick wanted to plant that and make sure people knew that,” Stanford head coach David Shaw said. “It’s a great way to recruit people to come to you.”

It’s the latest recruiting tool used by coaches of big name-brand schools in order to lure top high school athletes to their school. And it’s not just Alabama that offers money-making potential. 

Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei — who will be replacing Trevor Lawrence under center for the Tigers — has partnered with Dr. Pepper and will appear in their “Fansville” ads during the college football season. 

“For me, NIL has been a great opportunity to be able to work with brands, to be able to do stuff like this,” Uiagalelei said in an interview with “If I was playing college football five years ago, I wouldn’t be able to do this. It’s a great opportunity for people now to be able to build off their brand, make money and work on different partnerships like Dr. Pepper. I’m super excited about it.”

Dr. Pepper becomes the first major national name-brand to partner with a college football player and will have the Clemson QB in their commercials starting August 23. The move by Dr. Pepper will assuredly get the attention of other major companies, kicking off the race to obtain the services of big-time college football players around the country. 

“We’re thrilled to have D.J. on board for one of Dr. Pepper’s most exciting campaigns of the year,” said Andrew Springate, Dr. Pepper’s chief marketing officer.

The new NIL rules have completely changed college athletics after years of student-athletes unable to profit off of their success. Universities have profited off the popularity of their athletes for decades without having to compensate them for the part they play in the money-making industry of college sports. 

In July, the Supreme Court cleared the way for college athletes to make money after ruling in favor of a group of former and current college athletes over rules limiting compensation.

“This is an important day for college athletes since they all are now able to take advantage of name, image, and likeness opportunities,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “With the variety of state laws adopted across the country, we will continue to work with Congress to develop a solution that will provide clarity on a national level. The current environment — both legal and legislative — prevents us from providing a more permanent solution and the level of detail student-athletes deserve.”

According to the NCAA website, “The policy provides the following guidance to college athletes, recruits, their families and member schools:

  • Individuals can engage in NIL activities that are consistent with the law of the state where the school is located. Colleges and universities may be a resource for state law questions.
  • College athletes who attend a school in a state without an NIL law can engage in this type of activity without violating NCAA rules related to name, image, and likeness.
  • Individuals can use a professional services provider for NIL activities.
  • Student-athletes should report NIL activities consistent with state law or school and conference requirements to their school.”

The new rules certainly give major college football brands — such as Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, etc. — an edge in recruiting, as more high schools players see major college football athletics making big money at brand-name universities.

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to

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