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How are college freshmen handling name, image and likeness deals?

At FSU, they’re not, really. They want to get adjusted to the next level first.
NCAA athletes, including freshmen, can profit off their name, image and likeness. That doesn't mean they all are ready to do so yet.
NCAA athletes, including freshmen, can profit off their name, image and likeness. That doesn't mean they all are ready to do so yet. [ MICHAEL CONROY | AP ]
Published Jul. 7

As college athletes continue to cash in on endorsements and autographs thanks to recent name, image and likeness rule changes, not everyone is ready to participate. Just ask some of Florida State’s freshmen.

“Right now, I’m not really focused on that,” said Byron Turner, a three-star defensive end from Louisiana. “My main focus is just getting on the field, being able to play this year. The NIL stuff is just going to come whenever it comes.”

Related: Name, image and likeness deals started at midnight for a one-employee Tampa tech company

The NIL opportunities began flowing across college sports July 1, because of state legislation in Florida and elsewhere and a change in NCAA enforcement. The Seminoles have been active participants; a handful of them had an autograph session last week in Tallahassee, and a non-fungible token — digital art piece — of quarterback McKenzie Milton went on sale this week.

But many athletes getting those deals are older and more experienced. They already know what the college experience is like athletically and academically, unlike freshmen who would rather focus on getting acclimated to the next level than earning a few bucks.

“It’s about getting better,” said Patrick Payton, a four-star defensive end from Miami Northwestern. “I’ve got to get adjusted to the game, get faster, get stronger.”

Payton is eating four times a day to try to bulk up from 210 pounds (his listed weight) to 230. Classmate Shyheim Brown is spending his time on going from a linebacker prospect to a safety/nickelback. That doesn’t leave much time for navigating the new world of name, image and likeness.

Related: Miami, UCF getting team-wide name, image and likeness deals

“Really I haven’t given much thought to it,” said Brown, a three-star recruit from Lake City Columbia. “My thing right now, I’m just focusing on me, the team and football. I know all the other stuff is going to take care of itself later. If the opportunity shows itself, I’m going to take it. But for right now, I’m not too focused on it.”

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