Jaylen Waddle and the Durability Issue

Jaylen Waddle and the Durability Issue

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All Things CW: Five Things to Wonder After NIL Changes

We're only beginning to get a feel for potential long-term impacts of NIL, a very favorable projection about Mac Jones, and what happened to all the durability talk about Alabama players in the NFL draft?

July 1 rolled around and the NCAA's world didn't end, at least not the way some thought it would dramatically change overnight. 

We have no way of knowing how all this affecting athletes across the nation, who suddenly can do what everyone else is able, market and sell their image and name. Many are probably feeling a little lost and overwhelmed, while others are probably a little too obsessed with their immediate opportunities. 

Even though it's only July 2, and barely into the new era of the college athletics, a few things are already apparent, and/or can be speculated about. 

1) This will big for a lot of female athletes 

I had never heard of the Cavinder twins until Thursday. Haley and Hanna are both on the Fresno State women’s basketball team, and on July 1 they were in Times Square (yes, New York City) announcing a deal with Boost Mobile. Later in the day they added another with Six Star Pro Nutrition.

I had also never heard of LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne, who didn't contribute much to the Tigers' postseason run last season. But now I know she has 3.9 million TikTok followers and 1.1 million on Instagram, who are about to make her pretty wealthy. 

This only confirms my belief that softball pitcher Montana Fouts could soon be Alabama's highest-paid athlete, making Patrick Murphy's statement a couple of years ago about her being the Crimson Tide's version of Jennie Finch, prophetic. 

One has to be curious to see what kind of opportunities someone like Luisa Blanco, the reigning NCAA balance beam champion and SEC Gymnast of the Year, might get, especially during an Olympic Year. 

It's going to be an interesting summer as Alabama's high-profile athletes wade through offers and opportunities in these uncharted waters. So far they seem to be demonstrating patience, which is this case is almost certainly a good thing, in order to eventually connect with what might be best for him or her. 

2) This could lead to more athletes staying in college longer

Most athletes won't be getting anywhere near what they might potentially earn as a professional athlete, but they might earn enough to convince some to not leave school early.

Say you're on the bubble about going pro, and it's obvious coming back to school could only help in terms of draft stock. Making some money from NIL might be enough to sway the decision and develop more at the collegiate level. 

Here's the opposite side of it. If you go pro early and don't make it, the opportunities will almost certainly dry up. 

3)  Trademark, trademark, trademark 

The next big thing we'll start hearing about will be athletes announcing product lines and personal trademarks. It probably won't be long before they're doing it in tandem with major brands labels.  

Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz and Iowa basketball player Jordan Bohannon, have already revealed their plans for doing just that, and they won't be alone. 

Just imagine for a moment what being the starting quarterback at Alabama might soon mean financially. It's not a coincidence that Bryce Young made his first tweet since 2019 on Friday at @_bryce_young.

[Note: Can you also image what Landon Dickerson might have been able to do with all this? How about Derrick Henry or Julio Jones?]

Here's hoping things don't get to the same level as NASCAR, where drivers will answer interview questions by first thanking their sponsors, or agents trying to tell coaches how to use their clients, and offering incentives. 

4) State income tax now an issue

Nine states don't have an income tax: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. That immediately becomes a recruiting advantage for schools located in those states. 

Former Sports Illustrated writer Lars Anderson told the story the other day on the Jay Barker Radio Show that he very first words Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arias used with Tom Brady to try and lure him in free agency were about how Florida doesn't have a state income tax. 

They just won a Super Bowl together. 

How long do you think it'll take some states to seriously consider ditching the state income tax to help schools in recruiting? 

It sounds crazy, but in the South especially you know it's going to be discussed. 

5) The genie isn't going back in the bottle

To some, the NCAA decided to "temporarily" suspend amateurism rules related to name, image, and likeness (NIL) for student-athletes was like the containment grid being shut down in Ghostbusters.

Granted, agents can be a lot more scary than ghosts going amok, but this will be anything but temporary. NIL is here to stay and it's now up to the state and federal governments to try and establish a level playing field. 

The guess here is that it'll take a while, probably years, for a uniform nationwide, cohesive policy to be established and take hold. After that will be the subsequent problems of enforcement, which again could mean different things in different states.  

For those not old enough to remember when the Internet first came around and exploded in popularity, there was a settling-out process which in some ways is still happening. This will be similar in many ways, and won't happen overnight.    

Big Mac Attack 

Sports Illustrated's Conor Orr has a very interesting article, Setting Realistic Expectations for 2021's Rookie Quarterbacks, which includes what we've been hearing and saying all along, that former Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones is a perfect fit for the New England offense. 

He wrote: "If you’re the Patriots, ideally, you want Mac Jones to win the job out of training camp with the handshake agreement that Cam Newton will be a big part of this offense in regular stints throughout the year. Newton is simply too much of a playmaker to keep on the bench, and as he evolves in Josh McDaniels’s offense, so too should his opportunities. An anonymous Patriot recently told NFL Network that Jones 'sees the game the way Josh does' which is the closest anyone in that building has come to acknowledging that Jones, one of the most accurate passers in recent memory and a player who some coaches saw as a bona fide top-three pick."

Check out the article to see Orr's projection, but we'll give away one important part of it, he sees Jones playing a lot this season. 

No More Waddling 

Remember all that talk about durability concerns regarding certain Alabama players in the NFL Draft? 

Well, now look. 

The Eagles are raving about DeVonta Smith

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle isn't limping any more. 

Meanwhile, this was the a headline in the Philadelphia Inquirer this week: Eagles rookie Landon Dickerson is the model of the NFL’s new-age interior offensive linemen

The story includes a great quote from NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger, who called Dickerson the most physically gifted lineman in the draft class.

“Physically, nobody is close to him in this whole draft,” Baldinger said. “Nobody can just dump 320-pound, 350-pound defensive linemen into the ground the way he can and do it with such glee, like it’s the most fun thing in the world to do. He’s big, and he’s powerful, and he plays hard, and he wants to be great.

“He’s a cultural guy. He’ll change the culture anywhere he goes. That guy will start the fight, and he finishes the fight. Every day in practice, he’ll set the tone.”

We don't want to say we told you so, but we told you so. 

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Christopher Walsh's notes column All Things CW appears weekly on BamaCentral. 

July 1 rolled around and the NCAA's world didn't end, at least not the way some thought it would dramatically change overnight. 

We have no way of knowing how all this affecting athletes across the nation, who suddenly can do what everyone else is able, market and sell their image and name. Many are probably feeling a little lost and overwhelmed, while others are probably a little too obsessed with their immediate opportunities. 

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