Friday Five: The top players who would benefit from selling their name, image and likeness right now
It's time to play marketing executive for some collegiate athletes
It says a lot that earlier this week the NCAA released a statement saying it had "" and there wasn't more of an uproar over the decision. Think about how aggressively the NCAA has fought back against this idea over the years. Now think about how loudly the NCAA's detractors argued against its policies. One would have thought that the NCAA making this announcement would have caused a much larger reaction.
After all, if the NCAA follows through and allows student-athletes to make money off their brands -- that's what we call name, image and likeness now, NCAA, catch up -- it will have a significant impact on the sport. Yet, for the most part, the reaction I saw and heard was muted. It was more of a "that's nice, dear" than a "wow!"
Of course, there's a long way to go between the NCAA saying it's going to do something, and the NCAA doing something. So while the changes seem to be coming -- and mostly because local governments essentially forced the NCAA to take action, not because it wanted to -- the current crop of college football players can't take advantage of it. That sucks for them, and it sucks for us too. I mean, I'd like to be able to buy the latest version of NCAA Football on Amazon right now, but I'll have to wait like everybody else. Still, for this week's Friday Five, I decided to rank some players who are currently playing that could profit a bit if they were allowed to do so right now.
Now, there are a lot of players who could get local sponsorships, and it was incredibly difficult to cull this list down to five players. In the end, if there was an available pun, it significantly increased your odds of making this list. So try not to take it too seriously, OK?
5. Rodrigo Blankenship, K, Georgia: Unlike most kickers, Blankenship is instantly recognizable. Most fans only notice kickers when they miss a kick, but thanks to Blankenship's glasses, everybody knows him when they see him. That's why he'd be a perfect candidate to sponsor an eyeglass company. Maybe it would be a local shop in Athens, or perhaps it'd be an online purveyor of spectacles. Whatever the case, I can already see the commercial where Blankenship is missing field goals until he tries on his new pair of glasses and he suddenly can't miss.
4. Cole McDonald, QB, Hawaii: Hawaii is in the middle of a giant ocean, but it's also on the planet Earth, which means it has numerous fast-food restaurants, including a certain one that may or may not share a similar name to Cole's. This is a sponsorship made in heaven. Picture it now, the Hawaii QB dressed up as a red and yellow clown, literally slinging burgers to customers from behind the counter. All while singing, "Cole McDonald has an arm, E-I-E-I-O." Then you know that competing chains would have to counter, and would do so by hiring Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa to do local ads. Everybody eats! It's incredible that I write about sports and that I'm not making millions of dollars per year as an advertising executive. I'm just giving these ideas away for free!
3. Chase Young, DE, Ohio State: Chase Young is hot right now. Every year, a breakout defensive player enters the Heisman Trophy conversation, even though we all know that the odds are stacked very much against them. After his massive performance against Wisconsin last week, Young is receiving plenty of national attention. He's a big name that plays for a blue blood program in the national title race. He's playing for a program with one of the most passionate fanbases in the country. I don't have a specific idea for a marketing campaign involving Young just yet -- though I'd love to hear yours -- but I think we all know he'd be a marketing monster. Maybe he could do some home security ads with the Bosa Brothers, where they tackle thieves sneaking up to steal packages off people's porches.
2. Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia: I have a dog. That dog eats a particular brand of dog food made by a company called Fromm's. Do I need to do the math for you, or have you figured it out yet? Jake Fromm is named Fromm. Jake Fromm plays for the Georgia Bulldogs. FROMM'S DAWG FOOD, PEOPLE. FROMM'S. DAWG. FOOD. Tell me that's not flying off the shelves in Athens! People without dogs will buy a dog just so they can buy Fromm's Dawg Food to feed it!
1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson: Trevor Lawrence has been destined to do shampoo commercials for years now. That golden mane of his blowing in the breeze as he warms up -- opponents in awe of its silky flow and blinding shine. Lawrence casually steps out of the way of an onrushing blitzer before unleashing a touchdown pass. As the defender goes by, he takes a sniff of Trevor's hair. As Trevor cooly celebrates yet another touchdown, the defender asks him, "How do you do it, Trevor Lawrence? How do you maintain such volume and bounce to your hair?" Trevor, cool as a cucumber, then answers him with, "I use YOUR BRAND HERE shampoo and conditioner." He then floats off to celebrate with his teammates, his hair blowing elegantly in the breeze.
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