On Signing Day, Penn State Highlights Need For ‘Aggressive’ NIL Strategy

On a day that 23 Penn State football recruits signed their NLIs (National Letters of Intent), lots of chatter in Happy Valley and the college football world was focused on NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness).

When the NCAA allowed student-athletes to make money through the use of their name, image, and likeness this summer, college football instantly changed, and Penn State is no exception. In State College, some football stars have made money on deals of their own, but head coach James Franklin says the Nittany Lions can and should do more.

“NIL is something that we’ve been pushing hard with really since this became an opportunity in college football,” Franklin said. “It’s something that as a university, and specifically as an athletic department, that we’re going to have to be more aggressive in.”

Guys within the football program were quick to take advantage of NIL deals when the new rules were passed this summer. Sean Clifford hopped on the Cameo train and announced he’d donate all his proceeds to Big Brother Big Sister Centre County. Others, like Jordan Stout, became “Barstool athletes“.

Lots of the opportunities these Nittany Lions are taking advantage of are things they could have done on their own. Penn State established a “STATEment” program to help its student-athletes navigate the world of NIL, but things have since been quiet on that front from Franklin & Co.

Director of Player Personnel Andy Frank agrees with Franklin that Penn State can do more to get involved with NIL deals. On National Signing Day, he mentioned connecting with businesses and alumni to help financially support Nittany Lions.

“We’ve got a huge alumni base, a lot of people who care a ton about Penn State football,” Frank said. “We’ve got to find a way to turn that passion for Penn State football and that’s reaching out to those alumni and informing them on what they can do and the importance of it. We’re all in this together.”

Frank also said Penn State could reach out to local and state-wide businesses that care about the football program with opportunities for student-athletes. He sees it as an opportunity for people who don’t work for the university to get involved with things like recruiting.

Since it was National Signing Day, recruiting was obviously the hottest topic. Moving forward, the intersection of NIL and recruiting will likely prove to be continuously interesting.

No. 1 overall 2022 recruit Travis Hunter shocked the college football world Wednesday by flipping to HBCU Jackson State on the day he was poised to sign his NLI for FSU. Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel reports this historic decision had lots to do with a significant NIL deal worth around $1.5 million

NIL’s impact on recruiting is quickly becoming a trend. Top quarterback prospect Quinn Ewers left high school early to enroll at Ohio State, quickly cashing in on more than $1 million in NIL agreements as an 18-year-old. After just one semester in Columbus, he transferred to Texas.

With this recruiting cycle’s top quarterback prospect, Drew Allar, on hand, Penn State needs to be cognizant and aggressive with its NIL opportunities if it wants to continue to lure and retain blue-chip recruits.

“[NIL] is an area that I think we’re all seeing every single day is a major factor in the recruitment process,” Franklin said. “It’s something that we need to be bold and aggressive in, and it’s something that I think is going to be very very important, not just today, but moving forward.”

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a redshirt senior majoring in business and journalism from "Philadelphia" and mostly writes about football nowadays. You can follow him on Twitter @rjparsons9 or say hi via email at [email protected].

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