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Leaf Launches Anime-Style Cards for Alabama's Milroe, Colorado's Hunter

Two top returning college football stars release limited edition NIL trading cards

As the underclassman deadline to declare for the NFL Draft has officially passed, college football fans now know which returning players to expect for the 2024 season.

Two of the top names coming back to campus in the Fall - Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe and Colorado wide receiver/defensive back Travis Hunter - will be among the brightest stars both on the field and in NIL, both potential Heisman Trophy candidates and expected top earners off the field.

Through the duo's individual NIL partnerships with Leaf Trading Cards, Milroe and Hunter have launched their own limited edition anime-style cards ($19.99). Designed by Japanese illustrator, manga artist and caricature artist, Shion Minabe, the metal trading cards will print to order through January 22 and are numbered to the final print run.

Minabe, who counts the NBA and Bleacher Report as clients, previously collaborated with Leaf on a Muhammad Ali card.

"In the last year and beyond, the Leaf team has successfully cultivated a new series of weekly releases, establishing a new flagship brand, featuring renowned artists," CJ Breen, Leaf's Director Of Marketing and Licensing shared with Sports Illustrated. "The Anime Nation Set, created with original artwork in the Anime style by Shion Minabe, has gained significant traction, offering collectors an exciting and enjoyable way to collect cards featuring their favorite athletes. The recent launch of Jalen Milroe and Travis Hunter editions reflects Leaf's ability to tap into the vast NIL fanbase within the evolving landscape of Name, Image, and Likeness agreements. Anticipate the unveiling of more incredible pieces from Shion Minabe in the near future."

With a new coach at Alabama in Kalen DeBoer - and likely offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb - Milroe and the Crimson Tide's offensive scheme will be one of the most talked about storylines of the new offseason. The former Washington coaching staff should take Milroe's game to the next level, if they decide to stick with their returning signal caller. The SEC Championship Game MVP threw for 2,834 yards, 23 touchdowns and 6 interceptions this season, while leading the Crimson Tide to the Rose Bowl where they lost in overtime to eventual-National Champion, Michigan.

Hunter is coming off a breakout season earning first-team All-American honors by the Associated Press and Football Writers Association of America, becoming the first All-American Colorado player in 13 years and first all-purpose player in program history. Although he missed three and a half games due to injury, the wide receiver/cornerback/kick returner played more snaps from scrimmage than any player in the FBS. Colorado and Coach Deion Sanders will again be one of the most talked about programs in the country and the Buffaloes should improve on their 4-8 record.