Top 5+ Highest Paid College Athletes

So, you’re wondering who the highest paid college athletes are? Let’s get in to it!

The landscape of college sports is changing fast. Just a few years ago, college athletes were not allowed to be compensated financially for use of their name, image and likeness. This was an effort to keep college sports “amateur” for the athletes, while the universities were able to break the bank.

In September of 2019, California became the first state to pass the Name, Image and Likeness Bill, giving college athletes a new found control over their own personal brand. As colleges and college athletes continue to explore how to navigate the landscape in NIL era, some players are being well compensated.

Here are the six highest paid college athletes:

Top 5+ Highest Paid College Athletes

1. Bronny James – $5,000,000+

  • School: University of Southern California
  • Sport: Basketball
  • Born: October 6th, 2004

The most famous college athlete who’s yet to play a single second of collegiate sports is undoubtedly Bronny James. Son of Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, Bronny has basically been in the spotlight since he was born. Because of the ties that LeBron has to huge corporate entities like Nike and Beats by Dre, Bronny already has some big deals in place.

He recently committed to playing for the University of Southern California Trojans next season.

2. Livvy Dunne- $3,000,000+

  • School: Louisiana State University
  • Sport: Gymnastics
  • Born: October 1st, 2002

Louisiana State University gymnast Livvy Dunne skyrocketed to fame a few years ago after establishing a social media presence. First posting TikToks of prematch warmups or locker room moments, she began to build a massive following that ballooned into 11+ million followers.

Dunne is now one of the most famous college athletes on the planet and continues to use her fame to leverage brand deals. She has secured sponsorships and partnerships with brands like ESPN, Grubub, and Forever 21.

Recently graduating from LSU, Dunne continues to dominate the NIL landscape through her massively popular social media accounts and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

3. Caleb Williams – $2,500,000+

  • School: University of Souther California
  • Sport: Football
  • Born: November 18th, 2001

Caleb Williams entered the 2021 college football season with low expectations. He was Spencer Rattler’s backup, one of the highest touted prospects in recent memory. After Rattler didn’t live up to the hype, Williams stepped in and shocked the world.

He transferred to USC after that season and truly established himself as a top NFL prospect. After throwing for over 4,500 yards, 42 touchdowns, and winning 11 games, Williams was awarded the 2022 Heisman Trophy and now has established partnerships with major trading card companies like Leaf, Fanatics, and Topps.

4. Arch Manning – $2,100,000+

  • School: University of Texas
  • Sport: Football
  • Born: April 27th, 2005

If you have the ‘Manning’ last name, you’re almost guaranteed a place in football royalty. Arch Manning’s commitment hype last year was one of the highly publicized storylines in college football. After whittling down his list of possible schools, Manning finally committed to the University of Texas Longhorns.

He has yet to sign a single NIL deal because of the strict direction he has been given by his family in which he’s not allowed to sign a NIL deal until he establishes himself on the field. It makes sense that Manning’s family is forcing him to earn his money on the field instead of just using his name.

5. Shedeur Sanders – $1,500,000+

  • School: University of Colorado
  • Sport: Football
  • Born: February 7th, 2002

Deion Sanders sent shockwaves throughout the college football world when he announced he would be leaving Jackson State to coach the University of Colorado. He also brought along several players with him, including his son Shedeur Sanders.

Shedeur was the starting quarterback for Jackson State last season and amassed a huge following through his vlogs on YouTube. He’s secured deals with companies such as Gatorade, PLB Sports, Mercedes-Benz, and more.

6. Hansel Emmanuel – $1,400,000+

  • School: Northwestern State
  • Sport: Basketball
  • Born: October 24th, 2003

Hansel Emmanuel is a Dominican born basketball player who currently plays for Northwestern State. He went viral in high school because as a child, he lost his arm in an accident.

Despite the setback, Emmanuel is elite on the basketball court and his highlights have amassed an incredible following. He has over four million followers across all his socials and he continues to inspire millions everyday.

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