The direct messages are open, and so is the opportunity for business.
Even before the NCAA’s decision Wednesday to allow student-athletes the opportunity to capitalize financially on their name, image and likeness, Alabama players began preparing themselves for a policy change that figures to turn college athletics on its head.
Beginning today, all student-athletes may now profit from their respective NIL(name, image, likeness) in various ways such as endorsement deals and sponsorships as well as signing autographs, teaching camps and monetizing their social media accounts.
Several Alabama players have already got the ball rolling on the process, tweeting out a statement over social media.
“According to the NCAA, we will be granted the opportunity to capitalize off our name, image, and likeness at the collegiate level,” the popular post reads. “Pretty soon, we as student-athletes will be able to brand ourselves, as well as other companies and businesses. My DM [direct message] is open to all potential opportunities!!”
While every student-athlete will have the opportunity to profit off of his or her NIL, higher-profile players are bound to benefit a bit more from the new policy. With that in mind, here are a few Alabama players who are in a position to cash in on college athletics’ new landscape.
Instagram followers: 82,400
Twitter followers: 16,000
Bryce Young has yet to start a game in his college career. However, the sophomore already has the second-best odds to win this season’s Heisman Trophy, according to SuperBook Sports. That’s what starting at quarterback for a perennial contender will do for you. This year, that notoriety might be able to net Young a good amount of compensation as well.
Earlier this year, Yahoo! Sports reported that Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence could have made more than $500,000 while at Clemson last season. Young doesn’t have anywhere near the same social media presence as Lawrence, but he is in a position to build up a celebrity status of his own if he can put together a breakout season at Alabama this year.
John Metchie III
Instagram followers: 64,000
Twitter followers: 13,300
Young is easily the biggest name on Alabama’s roster. However, the quarterback’s likely favorite target could also be catching a few big deals as well. John Metchie III has the third-highest Instagram following among Alabama football players with 64,000 followers.
The junior receiver is coming off a breakout season in which he finished second on the team with 55 receptions for 916 yards and six touchdowns. Those numbers could rise this season as Metchie figures to become the Tide’s leading receiver following the departure of DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. If that’s the case, expect Metchie’s following to increase as well.
Will Anderson Jr.
Instagram followers: 12,300
Twitter followers: 7,334
Offense sells a bit more than defense, but Will Anderson Jr. is still one of the biggest names on this year’s Alabama roster. The five-star edge rusher earned the Shaun Alexander-FWAA National Freshman Player of the Year Award last season and is thought of as one of the nation’s top defenders.
More importantly for his NIL potential, the fun-loving linebacker already appeared comfortable in front of the camera, flashing his marketable smile during interviews this spring. Another thing Anderson has going for him is a catchy nickname.
Last fall, former Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian dubbed the defender “The Terminator” due to his tendency to destroy his teammates in practice. The name gained plenty of traction, turning Anderson into a fan favorite. Despite the linebacker’s growing notoriety, he’ll have to improve his social media stats if he wants to truly capitalize on his NIL.
Instagram followers: 52,500
Twitter followers: 13,200
Speaking of nicknames, no Alabama player has a better one than Ga’Quincy “Kool-Aid” McKinstry. The freshman defensive back earned the nickname growing up due to the ever-present smile on his face which resembles the Kool-Aid man. Now he’s even listed by the moniker on Alabama’s official roster.
McKinstry was named Mr. Football by the Alabama Sports Writers Association last season after leading Pinson Valley High School to the 6A state title. The five-star defender comes to the Tide ranked as the No. 1 cornerback and No. 27 overall player in this year’s class. This spring, he put that talent on display, recording an interception, a fumble recovery, a pass deflection and three tackles, including one for a loss during the A-Day game.
On top of his catchy name and elite talent, McKinstry already seems poised to capitalize off his NIL. Earlier this year, he posted a self-promoting commercial on his TikTok account.
Instagram followers: 28,600
Twitter followers: 7,021
While being a household name certainly helps, capitalizing off NIL will also come down to a player’s willingness to participate. So far, Traeshon Holden has taken to the process quickly, announcing a pair of business deals over Instagram.
The sophomore receiver has yet to record a reception for Alabama but did perform well during the A-Day game, pulling in a game-high nine receptions for 89 yards. If Holden is able to carry over that momentum into the fall, the combination of his on-field success and business savvy could lead to even more NIL success.
Instagram followers: 450,000
Twitter followers: 38,600
Football players aren’t the only ones set to profit. In fact, no current Alabama player has a following as big as Jahvon Quinerly. The basketball guard currently has 450,000 followers on Instagram and 38,600 more on Twitter. While he has yet to announce a deal, he’s posted several times about NIL on both accounts and figures to be active in the process moving forward.
Quinerly received the majority of his fame from his involvement in Jelly Fam, a collection of former high school basketball players from the New York tri-state area known for their ability to execute the “jelly” finger-roll layup. In the past, the five-star guard has received social media praise from NBA greats including Allen Iverson, Kyrie Irving and John Wall as well as other notable celebrities.
Following Wednesday’s news that fellow Alabama guard Jaden Shakelford is entering the NCAA transfer portal, Quinerly figures to be the Tide’s highest-scoring returner from last season’s team. After sitting out a year following his transfer from Villanova, Quinerly excelled in his first season at Alabama, averaging 12.9 points while scoring in double-figures in each of the final 15 games. He figures to be one of the Tide’s biggest contributors this season as well.
Instagram followers: 349,000
Twitter followers: 13,700
Quinerly won’t be the only five-star talent in Alabama’s backcourt this season as JD Davison comes to the Tide as the No. 10 overall player in this year’s signing class. Like Quinerly, Davison is known for his ability to create highlights on the court and has already built up quite the following, netting 349,000 followers on Instagram and 13,700 on Twitter.
Davison is Alabama’s highest-rated signee since Collin Sexton came to the Tide as the No. 8 overall player in the 2017 class. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound freshman was named Mr. Basketball by the Alabama Sports Writers Association the past two years and is viewed as a potential one-and-done player at the college level. Look for him to have plenty of NIL opportunities as he continues his road to the NBA.
Instagram followers: 112,000
Twitter followers: 26,000
While football and basketball players figure to get the most NIL opportunities, there are a few players in non-revenue sports who stand to capitalize. The best example at Alabama is softball pitcher Montana Fouts, who has 112,000 followers on Instagram as well as another 26,000 followers on Twitter.
Fouts was named Pitcher of the Year by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association last year after leading the nation with 349 strikeouts. She also gained plenty of recognition when she tossed a perfect game in the Women’s College World Series last month.