Florida Gators Freshman DJ Lagway Pens First NIL Deal

    Before setting foot on the field at Florida, DJ Lagway has already used NIL to turn reputation into financial success with a trading card partnership.

    Florida Gators freshman quarterback DJ Lagway wants to bring wins to Gainesville. Before he even takes to the field in “The Swamp,” the Texas native has scored a massive financial victory for himself, penning his first NIL deal with Leaf Trading Cards.

    DJ Lagway Signs First NIL Deal as Florida Gators QB

    Trading cards have proven a popular entry into Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) partnerships, and Lagway has wasted no time capitalizing on his opportunity with the Gators. The highly rated quarterback signed a deal with Leaf Trading Cards, releasing the “2024 Leaf Metal NextGen DJ Lagway Autograph Card”, priced at $69.99.

    “DJ is the #1 QB in the class of 2024,” explains the product description, with the card available to purchase online. “Lagway will be playing for the Florida Gators next season and looks to be an immediate impact and is predicted to be freshman of the year in the SEC! This is DJ first ever autographed trading card. You do not want to miss this one.”

    Even in the modern era, trading cards remain a lucrative business. Several of the key players in the list of the top NIL deals in 2024 have agreements with card companies such as Panini or Topps. Back in October, the first card of a partnership between Panini and Texas Longhorns QB Arch Manning sold for $102,500 at auction, with the proceeds donated to charity.

    His arrival in Gainesville gives Lagway his first opportunity to turn footballing success into financial gain. A Texas native, his earning power has been restricted during his career at Willis High School due to state law that outlaws student-athletes from making money from their Name, Image, and Likeness until they have enrolled at a university.

    Lagway is already enrolled at Florida and will compete within a quarterback room set to be led by the returning Graham Mertz.

    After an exceptional senior season for Willis, Lagway enjoyed a sensational climb up the 2024 recruiting rankings. Throwing for 4,631 yards and 58 touchdowns, the Florida freshman was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year, ending the 247 Recruiting Rankings as the third-overall player and top-ranked quarterback.

    Going one better, the On3.com 2024 Recruiting Rankings place Lagway as the second-overall prospect in the class, behind Ohio State Buckeyes-bound wide receiver Jeremiah Smith. The Florida freshman unseated Nebraksa Cornhuskers’ signee Dylan Raiola and Ohio State’s Julian Sayin as the top-ranked quarterback in the class.

    The value of individual NIL deals is often difficult to ascertain, with very few public details released. Such is the case with Lagway and his partnership with Leaf Trading Cards.

    However, based on social media following and earning potential, On3.com estimates that the Florida quarterback has a NIL value of $859,000.

    MORE: What is NIL? An Explanation of Name, Image, and Likeness

    That makes Lagway the second most valuable player in the 2024 recruiting class, according to On3.com valuations. Although that falls somewhat behind Sheduer Sanders ($4.7 million) as the most valuable player in college football, if the Flordia freshman transforms the Gators in the same style he created success for his high school, his NIL ceiling is potentially limitless.

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football’s transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

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