On Friday, The Athletic shared some eye-popping college football recruiting news: a 5-star prospect in the class of 2023 has already signed a deal to be compensated $8 million for his name, image and likeness.

A portion of The Athletic report can be read above the website’s paywall. It details that the 2023 5-star signed with a “school’s NIL collective.” The article does not name the prospect or the affiliated collective.

From Stewart Mandel:

On Friday, a five-star recruit in the Class of 2023 signed an agreement with a school’s NIL collective that could pay him more than $8 million by the end of his junior year of college, The Athletic has learned. He’ll be paid $350,000 almost immediately, followed by monthly payouts escalating to more than $2 million per year once he begins his college career, in exchange for making public appearances and taking part in social media promotions and other NIL activities “on behalf of (the collective) or a third party.”

NCAA rules say that NIL deals cannot be “pay-for-play” in exchange for a prospect signing with a school. In the paywalled article, Mandel details that the $8 million deal avoids violating the rules by not mentioning a requirement to enroll at any specific university. The deal does not mention any school by name, per Mandel’s report.

Reactions from fans and media varied. Some applauded the athlete for inking a big payday, while others expressed concern about college football’s future.

Here’s a sample of the social reactions:


Let the speculation about the player and the program begin!