It’s been a major buzzword lately in college sports: Name, Image and Likeness, or NIL. Before NIL, athletes could not receive financial compensation. Now, with NIL, college athletes can make money while attending school. This has pushed universities to change their outlook on athletics, including Penn State.
In doing so, three Nittany Lions have made it on to On3’s NIL Top 100 list: sophomore running back Nick Singleton, junior edge rusher Chop Robinson and redshirt junior offensive tackle Olu Fashanu. Comparing them to the rest of the Big Ten football players, they are only some of the stars on their respective teams.
Will Johnson, a sophomore cornerback from Michigan, was a five-star recruit and recorded 25 solo tackles and three interceptions in his freshman season. Olu Fashanu could have entered the NFL Draft after his 2022-23 season and been a first round draft pick, instead opting to stay for a fifth year. Donovan Edwards had a breakthrough last year with 991 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. Heading over to Wisconsin, Braelon Allen was an elite running back since his freshman year, recording back-to-back 1,000+ yard seasons and double digit touchdowns.
Chop Robinson transferred to Penn State and made a splash, recording 26 total tackles, 10 for a loss, 5.5 sacks and two interceptions. Miyan Williams of Ohio State has improved on his numbers every year since redshirting his freshman season, with 825 yards and 14 touchdowns this past year.
TreVeyon Henderson struggled last season with a foot injury. Despite only playing in eight games, he still managed to record 571 yards and six touchdowns. His backfield mate at Ohio State, J.T. Tuimoloau, had a monster 2018-2019 season with 28 total tackles, 10.5 for a loss, 3.5 sacks, and two interceptions. The Toledo native’s play earned him the 47th spot on the NIL Top 100 list.
Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy has taken the reigns from previous quarterback Cade McNamara and led the Wolverines to two consecutive Big Ten championships and College Football Playoff appearances, throwing for 2,719 yards and 22 touchdowns. Nick Singleton’s five-star high school career translated to a 1,061 yard freshman season with 12 touchdowns.
And finally, Ohio State’s Emeka Egbuka saw a breakout performance in his sophomore year after being relatively unknown as a freshman. Egbuka tallied 1,151 yards and 10 touchdowns, while the other half of the OSU duo, Blake Corum, recorded 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns when healthy. He is expected to be a major part of OSU’s 2021 offense.
Marvin Harrison Jr. takes the top spot on the NIL Top 100 list. The Ohio State wide receiver ran away with the title after an electrifying sophomore season, in which he vaulted himself into the NFL Draft conversation with 1,263 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.
On3’s NIL Top 100 indicates the potential for college athletes to capitalize on their potential income earlier in their college career. With the rise of NIL, universities are finding ways to help athletes gain from their future potential earnings during their athletic time in school. Three Penn State football players have already made it on the list, with countless possibilities still open to them.