Marketing firm sees ‘huge opportunities’ for Georgia’s JT Daniels

NIL stands for name, image and likeness. Bulldogs QB JT Daniels has potential to earn between $100,000 and seven figures with his NIL deal.

ATHENS – Dan Everett signed Georgia quarterback JT Daniels to a marketing agreement this week for three main reasons: Daniels was identified as a serious contender to win the Heisman Trophy, the Bulldogs are expected to be in the national championship hunt and he is considered a potential first-round NFL draft pick.

That was the criteria Everett and his team at ESM (Everett Sports Marketing) laid out for the players they would consider bringing on for the beginning of the name, image and likeness era of college athletics. Daniels is one of only three college football players ESM targeted, two of whom they signed to deals. North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell is the other.

“For now, those will be the only two players we’ll sign,” said Everett, founder and president of the Greenville, S.C.-based sports-marketing and player-representation firm. “Later on this year, we could take on two more players. But that’s it for now. … We think it’s important that you sign the right guys, the right human beings, the people under the helmet.”

Dan Everett (R) of Everett Sports Marketing poses with client Mac Jones after the former Alabama quarterback was selected in this year's NFL draft. (Photo by Cooper Neill/NFL)
Dan Everett (R) of Everett Sports Marketing poses with client Mac Jones after the former Alabama quarterback was selected in this year's NFL draft. (Photo by Cooper Neill/NFL)

Everett said his newest clients could earn as much as “low seven figures,” depending upon how well their seasons go and how hard they pursue off-field opportunities that are expected to come their way. Both Daniels and Howell are juniors in terms of college eligibility, but either could turn pro in January.

“If these players had 12 full months of NIL – and we don’t know if these players will – they could monetize this at a very high level,” he said.

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But Everett said monetization was not the primary focus for either Daniels or Howell. He said the players wanted to emphasize causes and people they hope to impact. They also wanted to be able to include teammates wherever possible.

“The strategy here will be choosing brands that they have a strong affinity for and the majority of the deliverables being philanthropic or charitable in nature,” Everett said. “So, this NIL is not going to be a money grab for these young men. They’re going to find strategic partners with brands that they love and work with them to make a difference in and around the towns and states in which they play football.”

Anyone who follows Daniels on social media knows he likes to play video games, watches professional soccer and is interested in science, among other things. Everett said such interests are being taken into consideration as they attempt to match the native Californian with “brand partners.” ESM recently met with Daniels and his family to discuss what opportunities they wanted to pursue.

As of Wednesday, no deals had been announced. Everett anticipated some will be later this month.

Most Georgia players are pursuing NIL opportunities on their own. Tate Ratledge, Jamaree Salyer and Darnell Washington are among the Bulldogs who were promoting the Krystal bacon cheeseburger on their social-media feeds this week. Outside linebacker Nolan Smith announced that he is conducting a football skills camp later this month in Savannah. Defensive back Tykee Smith let his followers know he’s available for virtual appearances through “Cameo.” Several others have launched their own brands of apparel and merchandise.

But Daniels and Howell represent a different level of marketing. They are among the top five college football players expected to contend for the Heisman Trophy, according to Las Vegas oddsmakers.

Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, the top candidate according to most handicappers, signed a name, image, likeness deal with VaynerSports agency this week. Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, who’s also on that list, announced a deal with CashApp. LSU quarterback Myles Brennan recently inked an agreement with Smoothie King.

“There’s a lot of pivoting going on right now,” Everett said. “We knew these first couple of weeks of July were going to be crazy busy, and it probably will be until camp.”

But that’s why Everett said his company chose to focus only on two well-positioned clients. Both Daniels and Howell fit their carefully established profile, which mainly is high-profile quarterbacks on championship-contending teams.

“Not everyone is blessed to be in the position they are in,” Everett said. “They’ll have some huge opportunities. So, they can look at NIL from a different perspective, a much more responsible and mature perspective. That’s part of the reason they chose us and we chose them.”

Everett should be familiar to Georgia fans. He first came on the Bulldogs’ scene in 2013 when he stepped in to represent quarterback Aaron Murray after Murray suffered a late-season knee injury his senior year. Everett helped organize autographing-signing opportunities that netted the record-setting UGA quarterback hundreds of thousands of dollars well before he started auditioning for NFL teams.

Today, Everett represents former Bulldogs Nick Chubb and D’Andre Swift as well as several other NFL stars.