Jaydon Blue, the top high school running back in the state of Texas, has opted out of his senior year in order to focus on his schooling and preserve his body for the grind of the college game.
Quinn Ewers, not only the top high school quarterback in Texas but the entire nation, is considering opting out of his senior year to, essentially, become a professional quarterback in the college game.
Yahoo's Pete Thamel reported Wednesday that Ewers is considering leaving Southlake Carroll to enroll at Ohio State early. Doing so would allow him to cash in on NIL opportunities worth $1 million, and potentially more than that.
Ewers has been offered an equity stake in Holy Kombucha, a "tasty, probiotic-packed, live and raw kombucha delivered to your doorstep."
The quarterback hasn't made a decision yet, but admitted he's leaning toward taking the deal and becoming a Buckeye.
There are many aspects to this story. We'll break the major ones down one by one.
Should Ewers take the deal, he'd become a Buckeye and free not only to become a part-owner in the company, but also take other deals as well. Nick Saban claimed Bryce Young has $1 million-plus worth of opportunities heading his way, without having started a game.
“There’s no better business class at Carroll High School that he could take right now,” Curtis Ewers, Quinn's father, told Yahoo. “It’s important for all the reasons you can imagine. [Equity] is how you build wealth, not just quick cash.”
That said, the centerpiece to Ewers' marketability is his status as the top prep quarterback in America. While $1 million stares him in the face today, how does one balance that against his development as a quarterback? Patrick Mahomes signed a contract worth $500 million. Considering how the money in professional football is only going up, it's not at all out of the realm of possibility that Ewers could be on his way to becoming a billionaire by his 40th birthday.... so long as he fulfills his potential on the field.
That said, do you know how you would have reacted if someone shoved $1 million in your face at 18 years old? Football is a violent sport, and none of us are promised tomorrow. This offer could be as good as it gets for Ewers. None of us know.
Re-classifying wouldn't be as radical as it seems on the surface. Ewers turned 18 in March; he easily could've been a member of the 2021 class. The quarterback is just one class shy of graduating early which, he told Yahoo, he expects to complete by the time Ohio State opens camp on Aug. 3.
The Buckeyes' quarterback job is wide open with Justin Fields now in the NFL. Ohio State brings back essentially zero live game experience, but the three contenders for the job were all highly-regarded recruits in their own right: 4-star Jack Miller, a redshirt freshman; 5-star CJ Stroud, a redshirt freshman; and 5-star Kyle McCord, a true freshman.
Who's to say one of those three doesn't win the job and run with it, thereby keeping Ewers on the sideline until, potentially, 2025? What's his market value look like then? But what if Ewers walks in and wins the job? The offers at his feet now may be pennies compared to what a blonde-mulleted gunslinger could have before him by November.
All that said, Aug. 3. is Tuesday. Ewers has to decide whether, on the weekend of Sept. 10-11, he wants to face Prosper High School or the defending Pac-12 champion Oregon Ducks, and he needs to make the decision less than a week from now.
There are many here, running in both directions.
The entire reason Ewers is considering leaving is because his preferred option -- taking the money and remaining at Southlake Carroll -- isn't available.
The grand irony of the NIL industry as it stands today is that the only reason college athletes can make money in 2021 is because a series of state laws backed the NCAA into a corner. But the states that passed those laws find themselves at a disadvantage to those who didn't.
“The legislation that passed in Texas prohibits these types of agreements,” University Interscholastic League deputy director Jamey Harrison told Yahoo. “Given that those types of agreements are prohibited by state law, we could not be open to it.”
The National Federation of State High School Associations advised against NIL deals, but California has granted its high school athletes the same right to their own likeness as its college athletes.
If Ewers has this level of marketability, then it's a crisis for Texas and other states, because it proves there's a market for Austin Westlake quarterback Cade Klubnik, and Bridgeland quarterback Conner Weigman, and.... you get the point.
Ewers led Southlake Carroll, led by Riley Dodge, to the Class 6A Division I title game, where the Dragons lost to Klubnik and Austin Westlake, coached by Todd Dodge. All signs point to a rematch in 2021, which would be the elder Dodge's final game.
Should it come to pass, that would be among the most-anticipated games in the history of high school football, period.
But that's all up in the air now, depending on how badly Quinn Ewers wants to accept an equity stake in a niche beverage brand. What a time to be alive.