SEC NIL Earning Power: What Preseason All-SEC Players Could Earn with NIL Endorsements

sec nil valuation

“It just means more.”

The SEC claims that college football is more meaningful in Southeastern Conference-country. The proclamation might ruffle some feathers among fans of other Power 5 programs, but it’s hard to argue with the results. From representation in the College Football Playoff to annual team recruiting rankings, the SEC holds its own as the dominant conference in college football. 

With this consistent success and the region’s rabid football culture, the annual earning potential of SEC football student-athletes stands to be among the highest in college sports. 

Several factors are likely to help SEC student-athletes.

1. High profile from high school

The SEC recruits at a higher collective level than any other conference in college football. Because of this, many athletes come into college with a valuable, established audience. Their individual recruitments are followed in national recruiting outlets, and the players pick up social media followers — and fame — as they narrow down their choices and ultimately sign with a school. 

2. Local & National Exposure

The continued success of SEC programs like LSU, Alabama, and Georgia leads to constant national exposure for the conference as a whole. Every Saturday has College Football Playoff implications in the SEC. Each game is an opportunity for the conference’s best to keep title hopes alive, or for up-and-comers to secure a signature win. 

With this level of consequence comes constant coverage. Regional and national media cover the conference seemingly ad naseam (particularly for fans of other conferences). The increased exposure offers SEC student-athletes consistent opportunities in the spotlight, allowing them to capitalize on big moments and add to their audience.

The conference’s on-field wins also translate to unmatched success in the NFL Draft. SEC players can be found dominating draft boards well before the season starts, ingratiating them to a whole new audience of NFL fans.

3. Biggest show in town

If the conference’s tagline is to be believed, the value placed on college football by the SEC faithful is another NIL advantage for its student-athletes. While several Southeastern states are also home to professional teams, few of those teams can claim the state-wide passion of an SEC college football program. By virtue of playing for the most popular team in a state or region, the student-athletes will be in a position to capitalize on that passion with what is likely to be an abundance of NIL endorsement opportunities.

NIL Earning Power of the Preseason All-SEC Offense

To understand NIL earning potential among SEC football student-athletes, we analyzed Sports Illustrated’s preseason first-team All-SEC Offense.

Alabama adds value across the board

Alabama is the best-represented program on the list with 5 preseason All-SEC selections. Najee Harris, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle represent the student-athletes with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th highest NIL earning potential. 

Receivers lead the pack

While most NIL earning potential lists are dominated by the quarterback position, this is not the case in the SEC. This group is led by the receivers. LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase capitalized on a national championship and Biletnikoff Award-winning season to build an extremely valuable audience, setting himself apart as the SEC’s NIL earning potential leader. Following Chase is the Crimson Tide duo of DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle coming in at nos. 3 and 4 on the list, while Georgia’s George Pickens rounds out the top-5.

Leatherwood lacks social

Alabama Offensive Tackle Alex Leatherwood is a previous All-SEC selection and has racked up nearly 30 starts for the Crimson Tide. But without active social media channels, the Tackle is difficult to evaluate for NIL earning potential. It’s our belief that social media will play a major role in NIL opportunities from valuation to the execution of social media endorsements. However, the lack of social would not disqualify student-athletes like Leatherwood from earning off-field NIL income. Opportunities like player camps, autograph signings, and paid appearances are still a likely boon for a player with his credentials at a program like Alabama. 

ALL-SEC Offense: NIL Valuation

QB | Kyle Trask | Florida

Instagram Post Value: $980
Twitter Post Value: $167

NIL Earning Potential
$119 thousand

RB | Najee Harris | Alabama

Instagram Post Value: $2,809
Twitter Post Value: $139

NIL Earning Potential
$233 thousand

WR | Ja'Marr Chase | LSU

Instagram Post Value: $5,931
Twitter Post Value: $587

NIL Earning Potential
$508 thousand

WR | DeVonta Smith | Alabama

Instagram Post Value: $1,751
Twitter Post Value: $337

NIL Earning Potential
$152 thousand

WR | Jaylen Waddle | Alabama

Instagram Post Value: $1,971
Twitter Post Value: $118

NIL Earning Potential
$157 thousand

WR | George Pickens | Georgia

Instagram Post Value: $1,096
Twitter Post Value: $113

NIL Earning Potential
$83 thousand

TE | Kyle Pitts | Florida

Instagram Post Value: 507
Twitter Post Value: $106

NIL Earning Potential
$29 thousand

OL | Trey Smith | Tennessee

Instagram Post Value: $456
Twitter Post Value: $312

NIL Earning Potential
$55 thousand

OL | Darian Kinnard | Kentucky

Instagram Post Value: $49
Twitter Post Value: $34

NIL Earning Potential
$2.6 thousand

OL | Landon Dickerson | Alabama

Instagram Post Value: $73
Twitter Post Value: $68

NIL Earning Potential
$12 thousand

OL | Alex Leatherwood | Alabama

Instagram Post Value: N/A
Twitter Post Value: N/A

NIL Earning Potential
N/A*

C | Trey Hill | Georgia

Instagram Post Value: $99
Twitter Post Value: $79

NIL Earning Potential
$18 thousand

A Market Rate From Real Experience

Opendorse began facilitating social media endorsement opportunities with professional athletes in 2012. Thousands of paid opportunities have been published using our platform in the eight years that followed. These deals have involved thousands of athletes representing dozens of sports and leagues, with opportunities coming from brands ranging from the largest sponsors in sports to local businesses.

We have used nearly of decade of social media and payment data to establish a formula that offers a true market rate — an accurate assessment of what any given athlete can command for a single branded post.  

Value Per Post Calculation:

Estimated Value per Post is calculated using the cost per thousand followers (CPR), cost per engagement (CPE), and cost per thousand impressions (CPM) from thousands of paid posts published via Opendorse since 2012. 

The calculation factors in the athlete’s sport, status, current follower count, average engagement rate per post, impressions per post, and additional proprietary data points to provide an estimate of the dollar amount the athlete could command from sponsors in exchange for publishing one branded content post on their own social media channels.

Potential Annual Earnings Calculation

Annual earnings are calculated by multiplying the athlete’s total per-post value with the estimated number of promotions per year the athlete could be expected to participate in. 

The number of promotions per year are calculated based on actual transaction data from the pro market as well, which has been translated to the collegiate market.

  • The athlete’s social presence impacts their value per post.
  • Their school and sport impact their promotions per year.
  • Their individual accomplishments and experience impact their promotions per year.

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