TCU hosted a Junior Day on January 30th for 40 prospects from the 2023 and 2024 recruiting classes, and while it seems every recruit had a good time learning about the university, touring the facility, and snapping photos in TCU uniforms, one subject seemed to stand above the rest: NIL.
“Name, Image, and Likeness,” said Terrance Green, one of TCU’s top lineman targets, “They talked a lot about it.”
TCU offensive analyst and recruiting coordinator Bryan Carrington was responsible for the presentation, which held every recruit’s attention.
Among the topics for the presentation were how to create your own brand, the process for obtaining NIL deals during your college career, and how you can benefit from NIL long after your playing days are over.
“He had one of the best presentations I’ve ever heard,” said Caden Jenkins, a defensive back prospect from Lewisville who is hoping for a TCU offer soon.
Jayvon Thomas, running back from South Oak Cliff who says TCU is “up there” for him as far as potential schools, said that Carrington’s presentation was “very unique and a great presentation.”
4-star receiver and top TCU target Braylon James said that Carrington “killed” the presentation, and noted, “You can tell they are really trying to make an emphasis on getting their players squared off in that arena without making that the main focus.”
Multiple recruits noted that Carrington cited LeBron James as an example, showing the recruits examples of how James has made more money from off-the-court sponsorship deals than he has in NBA contracts.
“He did it perfectly,” Austin Westlake wide receiver Keaton Kubecka said of Carrington’s presentation. “I never really knew it could be that big and how much I could benefit off of it.”
TCU’s comprehensive Name, Image, and Likeness strategy is called “Scaled to Succeed.” According to the university:
“TCU’s comprehensive solution to Name, Image, and Likeness. The scaled to succeed partnership is a collaboration between the TCU’s Athletics Department and Neeley School of Business through the Athletics Student-Athlete Development Office, Athletics Digital Brand Strategy Department, and the Neeley School of Business Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.”
Partnerships with organizations like Opendorse bolster TCU’s NIL efforts, allowing student-athletes advice on how to improve their social media marketability and bolster their brand.
Meanwhile, a handful of private NIL organizations have also popped up around TCU, most notably the Flying T Club. According to their website, Flying T Club “ is a non-profit organization, which supports the brand development of Texas Christian University student-athletes through a series of unique event-based networking opportunities, which are exclusive to our members.”
TCU head coach Sonny Dykes has spoken about NIL multiple times since coming over from SMU, including on Early Signing Day back in December:
“Not only do we have to keep up but we have to think of ways to get ahead. We have to figure out what we can do to gain a competitive advantage. That’s what college athletics is all about. That’s what business is all about. What’s the competitive advantage that we can gain and how can we gain it?”
“It’s something we talk about as a coaching staff all the time, whether it’s certain plays that we run, whether it’s certain things we do in recruiting in regards to social media and that kind of stuff. The amount of time we spend on the time with recruits. All those things are factors in who we recruit and how we recruit. Now name, image and likeness is going to be one of those factors.”
There’s no doubt that NIL has already had a profound effect on how schools are recruiting. The University of Texas is offering every offensive lineman $50,000 a year, quarterback Quinn Ewers received a $1.4 million NIL deal ahead of attending Ohio State (and then transferring), and Jackson State landed the No. 1 recruit in the 2022 class.
That TCU has a structure in place to be competitive in the NIL space is nice, but it seems as though the university isn’t making as big a public splash as other universities. Some of that may have to do with the previous coaching staff, some of it may be due to TCU’s smaller total number of donors (although we’ve seen first hand how much money TCU can raise when they want to).
Regardless of reason, TCU’s football coaching staff seems to be playing their part well in educating and equipping current and future student athletes on how to create a personal brand that they can then benefit from financially.
Most importantly, it seems as though recruits are listening.