Speaking at the Texas High School Coaches Association convention on Tuesday, Saban raised some eyebrows when he was asked about name, image and likeness laws. Within his answer, he revealed that Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young is doing pretty well for himself in this new era of college athletics.
"Our QB has already approached ungodly numbers, and he hasn't even played yet," Saban said, per Chris Hummer of 247Sports. "If I told you what it is … it's almost 7-figures."
Not bad for someone who threw for one touchdown as a freshman.
Dollar specifics have been largely hard to come by with NIL laws being so new, but it would hardly be surprising if Young is earning in the high six figures even though he's yet to start a college game. Young has already signed with CAA for marketing deals and he has a deal with Cash App. Young also has large social media following -- almost 83,000 followers on Instagram despite just three posts.
His success as a recruit has largely set that foundation. Young was a coveted five-star recruit for the Tide's 2020 class and the No. 1 quarterback in that group. Some even projected he was going to win the starting job over Mac Jones heading into last year. Young is likely to start this year, however, and could quickly become the face of college football. William Hill Sportsbook gives him the third-best preseason Heisman odds at +900.
Yes, being the starting quarterback at Alabama is almost always going to be a lucrative deal in the NIL era. Saban can use that to his advantage, just like any school in a state where NIL laws are effective. But it's also worth pointing out that Young had marketing value even before he stepped foot on to campus.
Remember, the NCAA's relief waiver for NIL states that high school athletes may also engage in the same types of NIL opportunities without impacting their NCAA eligibility. For prospects like Young, market value doesn't have to coincide with being a college starter. It wouldn't be surprising if some blue-chip recruits or true freshmen end up making more earlier in their career than many established starters will make in their careers.