Discover the top 12 highest paid college athletes making waves on and off the field. Explore their earnings and game-changing talent.

Thanks to the introduction of Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) deals, student stars are now cashing in on their fame. From football to basketball and even some less conventional sports, these athletes are not just scoring points on the field but also in their bank accounts. So, grab your snacks, and let’s dive into the world of the highest-paid college athletes from America’s heartland and beyond.

1. Bronny James

Slaying the game of basketball just like his legendary father Lebron, Bronny James is one of the highest-paid college athletes in the country. NIL deals with the college student at USC make him a top earner, bringing in around $3.7 million. Born in 2004, Bronny James is tearing it up on the USC men’s basketball team.

Bronny comes straight outta Los Angeles and has insane skills that bagged his previous school the Mission League title three years ago. Like other Gen Z athletes, he has millions of followers on Instagram, TikTok, and X. His mad skills displayed in the Team USA in the 2023 Nike Hoop Summit show he’ll be a true legend, just like his father.

2. Shedeur Sanders

Another second-generation athlete, Shedeur Sanders, son of Deion Sanders, is making waves in American college football as a quarterback on the Colorado Buffaloes. He’s creating a tsunami of excitement and hype that has attracted brands and millions of followers on social media.

Shedeur is a brand magnet snaking the biggest NIL endorsement deals that make him a cool $4.6 million. This football player from Dallas is one of the highest-paid college athletes, getting cash from top brands like Mercedes-Benz. His charisma and top-tier skills have bagged him several noteworthy achievements, including winning the Jerry Rice Award. With his insane skills, talent, passion, and drive, Shedeur’s over-the-roof potential might just land him in the NFL one day soon.

3. Livvy Dunne

Livvy Dunne ain’t your average college athlete. This LSU gymnast is a total boss, crushin’ it on the beam and raking in the dough (like, $3.9 million!) from NIL deals with Motorola and BodyArmor.

Hailing from Hillsdale, NJ, Livvy’s not just a social media queen with millions of followers. She’s redefining what it means to be a college gymnast—snagging a spot on the 2023 Winter SEC Academic Honor Roll. Livvy’s got the brains and the gains.

We’re talking next-level skills here: flips, twists, and routines so dazzling they’ll make your head spin. This ain’t your childhood gymnastics class—Livvy’s pushing the limits and defying gravity. There’s no doubt in my mind she’s destined for greatness. Olympics, here she comes! Watch out, Simone Biles. There’s a new queen in town, and her name is Livvy Dunne.

4. Caitlin Clark

Yo, let’s give it up for Caitlin Clark because this girl is straight-up killin’ it on the court and stacking up those dollars like it’s nobody’s business! We’re talkin’ a jaw-dropping $3.1 million in the bank, thanks to a whopping 11 NIL deals. Caitlin ain’t just playing basketball; she’s playing the game of endorsements like a boss!

Hailing from West Des Moines, IA, Caitlin’s holding it down for the Iowa Hawkeyes women’s basketball team, and let me tell ya, she’s making history left and right! Homegirl’s the first player from the Iowa Hawkeyes to snag the title of First Team All-Big Ten in a whopping four years of competition. That’s some serious hustle right there!

But wait, it gets even crazier! I’ve got this feeling, fam, that Caitlin’s just getting started. She’s got skills for days, and I can see her blowing up the court for many years to come. We’re talkin’ MVP awards, championship titles, you name it! Caitlin Clark is the future of women’s basketball, and I can’t wait to see her shine even brighter!

5. Arch Manning

This dude, Arch Manning, is the real deal. Hailing from New Orleans, LA, and repping the University of Texas, Arch is taking the game by storm and rewriting the QB playbook! Sure, having Peyton and Eli as uncles is a flex, but Arch is crushing it on his own terms.

This freshman phenom, AKA Archibald “Air Raid” Manning, is shattering records like they’re going out of style. Brands can’t throw money at him fast enough (like, $2.4 mil with Panini America, and that’s just the beginning). Snagging the 2022 Bobby Dodd National Back of the Year award? Casual.

The NFL is already hyped for Arch, and with good reason. This ain’t your average college QB. He’s got the talent, the smarts, and the clutch factor that screams future superstar. We’re talkin’ Heisman dreams, first-round draft pick status, and legendary career vibes. Keep an eye on this one because Arch Manning is about to take college football and the NFL to the next level.

6. Travis Hunter

This dude, Travis Hunter, is built differently. Not only is he snagging fat stacks (a cool $2.7 mil!) from sponsors like Celsius and Cheez-It, but he’s also a total brainiac studying psychology at the University of Colorado. Talk about well-rounded!

And let’s not forget his roots, y’all. Hailing from Suwanee, GA, Travis made waves at Jackson State, snagging the title of Top Freshman Player at the Jerry Rice Awards. Now he’s lighting it up at Colorado and already got his name on the Lott IMPACT Trophy Preseason Watch List. This ain’t your average athlete, folks.

Travis Hunter is a straight-up trendsetter on and off the field. He’s gonna be a football legend, leaving his mark on the game for years to come. Watch this space because he’s destined for the NFL and probably a couple of Super Bowl rings, too.

7. Quinn Ewers

Quinn Tucker Ewers is next level. Not only is he crushing it on the field at UT (huge shoutout to that transfer!), but he’s also lowkey a millionaire thanks to that epic NIL deal ($1.9 million – no cap!). This dude’s got serious swag, and brands like Nicholas Air and C4 Energy are lining up to sponsor him. #winning

Currently repping the University of Texas after his stint at Ohio State University, Quinn’s not just playing around on the field; he’s hustling hard off it too, making moves in the NCAA Division II sports scene. And check this out: Homeboy snagged the title of Most Outstanding Player at the 2023 Big 12 Championships like it was a walk in the park.

This guy’s got the talent and the drive to be a total beast in the NFL. Mark my words: He’s gonna be a top draft pick and straight ballin’ out in the pros.

9. Bo Nix

Bo Nix? OMG, that dude’s a total baller! He’s not just crushing college football; he’s rewriting the record books. This dude’s game is on another level, and brands like Google Shopping are flocking to him for endorsements, raking in a sweet $1.8 million. Talk about baller status, am I right?

So, Bo’s holding it down as the quarterback for Oregon, and get this: he’s not just good, he’s freakin’ historic! Homeboy’s got the highest completion percentage EVER in football history; that’s some next-level stuff right there. And let’s not forget that he snagged the Pac-12 Offensive Player of 2023 title like it was NBD.

Oh, and did I mention he’s not just a jock? This dude’s got brains, too, majoring in liberal arts at Auburn University. And to top it all off, he’s got the 2023 William V Campbell Trophy under his belt. Bo Nix ain’t just here to play: He’s here to dominate, mark my words!

The future looks lit for Bo Nix, and we’re all here for it! Get ready for some epic highlights and legendary plays. This is one college baller we need to be watching! Bo Nix 2024—the GOAT is coming!

10. Carson Beck

Yo, check it! Carson Beck, repping from Jacksonville, FL, is straight-up slaying as an American football quarterback, tearing it up in the NACC division. This dude ain’t just any QB; he’s the next big thing for the Georgia Bulldogs, ya feel me? 

And peep this: His NIL game is off the charts, clocking in at a cool $1.6 million, thanks to heavy hitters like EA Sports. Carson’s holding it down for the University of Georgia, making moves on and off the field.

But hold up, it gets even crazier! Homeboy was a finalist for the Manning Award in 2023, like, no big deal, just rubbing shoulders with greatness, you know? And that ain’t even the half of it! Carson’s got a whole laundry list of athletic achievements that’ll make your head spin—future superstar in the making, fam. So buckle up, ’cause Carson Beck’s about to take the football world by storm!

11. Brady Cook

Let’s break down this Missouri Tigers QB, Brady Cook! This college athlete at the University of Missouri is not just slingin’ spirals: He’s straight-up crushing it in the classroom, too. Winning 2023 SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year? That’s next-level brainiac status. 

And while he’s busy collecting degrees, he’s also raking in that NIL dough with sponsorships like Arch Apparel and Default Avatar. His NIL valuation clocking in at $1.1 million? Damn! That’s lit!

Brady Cook gonna be a baller on the national stage, no cap. We’re talking future NFL draft dreams coming true. Keep an eye on this Missouri Tiger because he’s about to be a roar in the league!

12. Marvin Harrison Jr.

Hol″ target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener”>Marvin Harrison Jr., son of the legendary Marvin Harrison Sr., isn’t messing around. He just got drafted by the Arizona Cardinals (score!). This football sensation from St. Joseph’s Uni in Philly straight-up crushed it in 2023. He snagged the Biletnikoff Award and even flexed as a Heisman Trophy Finalist. 

But wait, there’s more! This guy’s not just making bank from his pro gigs: He’s raking in a cool $1.4 million from those sweet NIL deals with Chipotle and Kane Footwear. Talk about living the dream, am I right?

And now that he’s with the Cardinals, Marvin Jr. gets to team up with none other than QB Kyler Murray. That’s a dynamic duo waiting to happen! It’s gonna be epic. So, keep your eyes peeled, ’cause Marvin Harrison Jr. is about to take the NFL by storm!

Wrapping Up!

And these are just some of the college athletes pulling in major NIL deals. From football stars to gymnastics phenoms, the landscape of college athletics is changing, and these talented athletes are finally getting compensated for their skills and success. Who knows, the next big earner could be right on your college campus! 


    • Chris Kane

      Chris Kane is a military veteran and former business owner currently living in the Des Moines, Iowa, metro. Chris is an inveterate entrepreneur and avid web developer who is not shy about sharing his opinions.