Leonard Fournette was at one point one of the top collegiate athletes across any sport, and had NIL existed at the time, he would've made out well for himself.
Fournette was a star running back at LSU before breaking into the pros in 2017. At that point, NCAA athletes weren’t legally allowed to make any money, but that changed when Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) was pushed through last year.
It, obviously, does nothing to retroactively pay athletes who didn’t have the benefit of making that money when they were in school. But had NIL been an option when Fournette was with the Tigers, he thinks he could have landed quite the haul.
“So, I was telling my parents about that,” Fournette responded when asked Thursday on the "Rich Eisen Show" if he ever thinks about the money he could have made. “I mean, I was the face of a college for a minute, and especially LSU, the program I was playing at. Easily, now I’m looking at the deals these kids get now, I probably would have made over $10 million in college.
“You’ve got to understand, I was the No. 1 player coming into college out of high school. My freshman year I did OK, but man, that sophomore season that I had – over 1,000 rushing yards in five games, I was going crazy, man.”
Frankly, he’s probably right. A star football player at a premier position for an SEC school is a marketing department’s dream, so certainly some company would have offered him a ton of cash.
Fournette is doing just fine for himself now, but no doubt he could’ve had high earning potential during his time in Baton Rouge.