As college athletes begin to cash in on their "names, images and likenesses," the new rules could lead to big choices for elite high school players.
The nation’s top high school quarterback is reportedly weighing two options.
Quinn Ewers is the number one high school recruit in the country, according to Rivals.com.
“He throws just like Patrick Mahomes, according to most experts,” The Dallas Morning News sports reporter Joseph Hoyt said. “He’s going to be the next big thing.”
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Ewers also dons a signature blond mullet and has a strong presence on social media, with over 80,000 followers on Instagram.
The star quarterback wants to cash in on his value during his senior year of high school.
The problem is, a new Texas state law prohibits high school athletes from accepting NIL deals, which were only recently allowed for college athletes.
The 18-year-old football phenom is now considering whether to graduate early from Southlake Carroll High School, take his deals and head to Ohio State to play ball.
It should be noted that this young man is in a very unique position, given his ability to potentially graduate high school in three years instead of four because of his academic abilities, being an elite athlete and being considered a social media influencer.
“Long story short, high school players have value,” Hoyt said. “When it comes to value, he’s got plenty of it. There are other players like that too – Mikey Williams is a high school basketball player that actually just transferred to an unsanctioned school so that he could cash in on his NIL benefits.”
Hoyt said he would not be surprised if Ewers becomes a trailblazer for others.
“A few elite prospects are going to have to make decisions: 'Do I play for my high school or do I leave high school sports, train on my own and then cash in on my name, image and likeness deals in the meantime,'” Hoyt said. “[Ewers] has been a player that everyone thinks is going to be a first-round pick eventually. If you want to get in on marketing a player like that it would probably make sense to get in on the ground floor.”
Southlake Carroll High School's coach did not respond to a request for comment.
NBC 5 asked Denton Guyer High School football coach Rodney Webb to react to the situation surrounding the North Texas teen and the rules surrounding NIL deals.
“We’re entering some uncharted territory with UIL,” Webb said.
Webb stressed the choices Ewers faces will only apply to a very small number of elite student-athletes.
He worries about the "ripple effects" or "untended consequences" of NIL rules and Texas laws related to them.
“How can you fault a kid for having the opportunity to make that kind of money,” Webb said. “But at the same time, anytime we’re starting to mess with a high school kid’s career and just the purity of the game. The purity of the high school experience. The inherent value of the experience a high school kid has… It’s really going to put these kids in a pretty difficult spot.”
"At this time, we have not heard from the Ewers family about his decision for the 2021-22 school year," a Carroll ISD spokesperson said. "Currently, we are excited Quinn will continue to his high school educational experience as a Dragon.’
Ewers’ father, Curtis Ewers said the family had no comment Thursday.
A Dallas-based kombucha company denied having offered Ewers an endorsement deal, despite reports to the contrary.
“We actually do not have an offer on the table whatsoever with Quinn,” Holy Kombucha founder Theresa Pham said.
Pham said Ewers and his family are close friends and avid customers who support the company’s overall mission to prevent suicide among youth.
“This kid loves our kombucha, his family loves our kombucha and we’ve remained in touch,” Pham said. “Who’s to say that there may not be a deal if he were to graduate?”
Webb said he would advise his student-athletes to enjoy the present.
“I think it’s important to be where your feet are and you never know what tomorrow holds and enjoy the moment today… College and pro-levels are businesses, it’s a very much bottom-line industry at those levels," he said. "High school is about relationships. It’s about having fun with your buddies and I would love to see every kid play throughout their eligibility.”