Top 10 Highest Paid College Athletes
Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) has allowed college athletes to make money from their brand. NIL deals have completely changed the lives of thousands of college athletes and altered their college decision. Below are the top ten highest-paid college athletes based on their projected annual income.
Who Are the Highest Paid College Athletes?
- Bronny James - $5.9 million
- Livvy Dunne - $3.4 million
- Caleb Williams - $2.6 million
- Arch Manning - $2.1 million
- Travis Hunter - $1.7 million
- Shedeur Sanders - $1.5 million
- Bo Nix - $1.5 million
- Drake Maye - $1.5 million
- Hansel Emmanuel - $1.4 million
- Angel Reese - $1.4 million
1. Bronny James - $5.9 Million
Bronny James, son of NBA legend LeBron James, became the highest paid college athlete in history when he committed to the University of Southern California, where he will make $5.9 million. Even though he has not stepped on the floor for an NCAA game yet, James already has several massive NIL deals in place with Nike, Beats by Dre, and PSD Underwear. James will most likely increase his NIL value throughout his college career, however long that might be.
2. Livvy Dunne - $3.4 Million
Livvy Dunne, a junior gymnast at Louisiana State University, makes $3.4 million per year. She is a TikTok sensation and big on Instagram and Twitter as well. Dune has racked up over 11.2 million followers on all of her social media combined, including 7.3 million of them on TikTok. She has deals with Too Faced Cosmetics, American Eagle Outfitters, ESPN, Grubhub, and Forever 21. Dunne is the highest-paid college gymnast, and is the most-followed college athlete on social media.
3. Caleb Williams - $2.6 Million
Caleb Williams is a junior quarterback at the University of Southern California, earning around $2.6 million per year. He has deals with Hawkins Way Capital, Leaf Trading Cards, Fanatics, Topps, Futuremood, and Athletic Brewing Company. Caleb Williams is the second-highest-paid college football player.
4. Arch Manning - $2.1 Million
Arch Manning is part of an iconic football family and has an NIL valuation of $2.1 million per year. Son of Cooper Manning and nephew of Peyton and Eli, Arch has committed to play quarterback for the Texas Longhorns starting in the 2023-24 season. Although he has not signed any endorsement contracts yet, Manning’s NIL valuation is massive, especially for an athlete just out of high school. He declined to sign any deals before committing to a school. Now that he has enrolled at Texas, we should expect the checks to start rolling in for Manning.
5. Travis Hunter - $1.7 Million
Travis Hunter is a cornerback and wide receiver at University of Colorado who earns $1.7 million per year. After a successful high school career, Hunter played for Jackson State and was awarded SWAC Freshman of the Year in addition to being named to the All SWAC Second Team. When his coach Deoin Sanders switched to coaching the Buffaloes, Hunter followed and has continued his successful collegiate football career there.
6. Shedeur Sanders - $1.5 Million
Shedeur Sanders is a sophomore quarterback at Jackson State University who earns $1.5 million per year. He is the son of NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, who is also his head coach at Jackson State. He has deals with BRADY, Gatorade, PLB Sports, Actively Black, and Mercedes-Benz. Sanders is the first athlete at an HBCU to ever sign an NIL deal. He is tied for the sixth-highest-paid college football player.
7. Bo Nix - $1.5 Million
Bo Nix is a senior quarterback for the University of Oregon Ducks who earns $1.5 million per year from NIL deals. He played his first three years of college football with the Auburn University Tigers before transferring to Oregon in 2022. Nix has landed deals with large brands both during his time at Auburn and now at Oregon, including Bojangles, Fanatics, and Bose. He is tied for the sixth-highest-paid college football player.
8. Drake Maye - $1.5 Million
Drake Maye is the current quarterback for the North Carolina Tar Heels and makes an estimated $1.5 million in NIL deals. He graduated from Myers Park High School in Charlotte, North Carolina and was named the top high school prospect in the entire state. In just his first season playing with the Tar Heels, Maye has found massive success and was even named ACC Player of the Year, ACC Offensive Player of the Year and ACC Rookie of the Year in honor of his freshman success.
9. Hansel Emmanuel - $1.4 Million
Hansel Emmanuel is a freshman basketball player at Northwestern State University. It is estimated that he makes $1.4 million per year. He has been an inspiration to many because he is able to play Division I college basketball while only having one arm. He is very successful on social media, where he has a total of 4.3 million followers on Instagram and TikTok combined. He has deals with Dreamer, Gatorade, and T-Mobile. He is the highest-paid college basketball player in the NCAA.
10. Angel Reese - $1.4 Million
Angel Reese is a power forward for Louisiana State University and she earns $1.4 million a year. After an astonishing high school career and two solid years at University of Maryland, she transferred to LSU. With the Tigers, Reese set the NCAA record for most double-doubles in a season and the SEC record for most rebounds in the season. At the 2023 NCAA Tournament, she led the Tigers to a championship win and was named Most Outstanding Player.
Marvin Harrison Jr. - $1.4 Million
Marvin Harrison Jr. is a wide receiver at Ohio State University, making around $1.4 million per year. He is the son of NFL Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison. It is unclear what companies he has deals with because they have not been released to the public. He works with The Foundation just like teammate C.J. Stroud. He is the seventh-highest-paid college football player.
Sunisa Lee - $1.3 Million
Sunisa Lee is a gymnast at Auburn University who earns $1.3 million per year. She was the all-around Olympic champion and won a bronze medal in uneven bars. She was a seven-time United States National Team member before even arriving at Auburn. She even has 3.5 million followers across social media, including 1.6 million on TikTok. She has deals with Target, Gatorade, Invisalign, Amazon, and CLIF Bar & Company. She is the second-highest-paid college gymnast and the ninth-highest paid college athlete.
Michael Penix Jr. - $1.3 Million
Michael Penix Jr. is a quarterback for the University of Washington and he earns $1.3 million a year. Thanks to two great seasons at a Florida high school, he was recruited to the University of Indiana and played in several successful games before being retired by an ACL injury. In 2022, he decided to join the Huskies and became the all-time passing leader in the league, as well as being named to the All-PAC-12 Second Team.
Who is the highest-paid college athlete today?
The highest-paid college athlete today is Arch Manning. It is projected that he
makes around $3.8 million per year thanks to NIL deals. As the son of Cooper Manning and nephew of NFL legends Peyton and Eli Manning, it is no surprise that Arch is a rising superstar in collegiate football. He signed to be quarterback for the Texas Longhorns starting in the 2023-24 season.