The Pioneer teams will meet this weekend, but they probably won’t.
Ohio State quarterback Quinn Ewers became the first rookie to skip his final high school season in a bid to capitalize on name, image and likeness opportunities in late July. Rutgers quarterback Gavin Wimsatt became the second in early September. Ewers chose to leave Texas Power Southlake Carroll in order to enter into NIL deals worth over $ 1 million. Wimsatt does not have any publicly known NIL deals, but the idea was said to have been a factor in his decision to leave Owensboro High in Kentucky after playing his team’s first three games.
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Ewers was not on the Ohio State travel team for the Buckeyes’ season opener in Minnesota in early September and there is no indication that he will be traveling for Saturday’s game against Rutgers at SHI Stadium in Piscataway (3:30 p.m., BTN). So the prospect of Ewers and Wimsatt being on the same pitch – at least for pre-game and post-game warm-ups and jokes – seems distant.
Will Ewers and Wimsatt become pioneers? Or will their unique decisions be seen as one-off in the grand scheme?
“Somewhere in the middle,” said Peter Schoenthal, CEO of Athliance, an NIL disclosure management and education platform designed for sports compliance departments.
“The legislation on the secondary level has not been fleshed out. I think we’re going to see across the country over the next few years that high school athletes will have the opportunity to engage in NIL like anyone else. And once that happens, I don’t think going to college early will become a trend. I think the market will play and it will be less frequent than you think. “
New Jersey is one of several states across the country to adopt NIL rights for high school athletes. A proposal from the NJSIAA could go into effect as early as January 1, 2022. The state legislature has passed a draft NIL bill, but it will not come into effect until 2025. Other states are also pursuing adjustments to the NIL. at the governing body or legislative level, the door is generally wide open. given the NCAA’s drastic change to NIL in July. Once these laws and rules change, high school athletes will no longer need to quit school to earn NIL money – the situation Ewers found himself in.
If the early move no longer makes financial sense for top quarterbacks and other elite rookies, it probably won’t make much sense for football either.
TEST Football Academy Martinsville-based quarterback coach Tony Racioppi has worked with 17 FBS starters and is currently the coach of Hun’s Marco Lainez, a 2023 prospect who is expected to be the top quarterback rookie- state back for years. In his career, how many of his students were ready to play college football as senior high school seniors?
“None,” Racioppi said with a laugh. While some may be physically ready or close to being – Racioppi gives the example of former Rutgers starter Artur Sitkowski, now in Illinois – he has yet to meet a 17 or 18 high school passer. year old who is ready to play to the next level in terms of decision making and schematic IQ.
“Just from a mental point of view, there is so much to learn,” Racioppi said. “It’s amazing how much the guys learn about football in their freshman year. And strength and conditioning too. Put on those extra 10 pounds of muscle, even from a protection standpoint.
The recruits graduated from high school early in order to enroll in college for the second semester and participate in spring practice for years now. This has immense value, said Racioppi. But showing up even earlier as the fall arrival probably doesn’t offer the same benefit for most players.
“Having spring is huge,” Racioppi said. “I’ve had guys signing up mid-year and some of them got jobs in their first year. And that’s because they got there in the winter, they signed up in January, they signed up for the bodybuilding program, they started meeting coaches, starting with guys for training and at night, to time and play. And then obviously the practice of spring. But what is the advantage of going [in the fall] and just be in training?
“You don’t really develop in the fall. You have to play. I’d rather a guy get live reps in big games for his high school team than be the guy on the third or fourth string, you’re not the backup and you really don’t do anything. Spring is for development and competition. The fall is “OK, let’s beat Michigan”. And how much is this high school student improving? “
Quarterbacks tend to be the most well-known players in football teams. This will improve NIL’s overall opportunities for players in this position, Schoenthal said. But quarterbacks alone won’t generate more opportunities overall, and off-court metrics like social media followers will often be more important than on-court success. So yes, a struggling or even benched quarterback could still “be worth” a NIL deal with the right brand.
“Name, image and likeness are unrelated to performance. It’s related to marketability, ”said Schoenthal. “Of course, performance is an indicator. But this is not an end in itself. I think it has to do with resonating with the fans.
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James Kratch can be contacted at [email protected].