Who are the best paid college athletes of 2023?

Los Angeles, California - 2023 has been one heck of a year when it comes to Name, Image, and Likeness deals in the NCAA world, but three superstar athletes in particular rose to the top of the list.

Who are the best paid college athletes of 2023, in a year that saw some record-breaking NIL deals?
Who are the best paid college athletes of 2023, in a year that saw some record-breaking NIL deals?  © Collage: Screenshot / Instagram / livvydunne & uschoops & shedeursanders

Two and a half years after the NCAA council voted in favor of allowing student athletes to profit from the use of their name, image, and likeness (NIL), deals have been struck left, right, and center.

After decades of not seeing a single cent from the hugely profitable college athletics business, the biggest stars in football, basketball, and other sports have been making up for lost time.

But who finished the year top of the heap in terms of earnings?

Simone Biles opens US gymnastics championship with soaring display!
Athletes Simone Biles opens US gymnastics championship with soaring display!

Here are the highest-paid college athletes of 2023!

3. Olivia Dunne

LSU's All-American gymnast Olivia Dunne stands as the highest-paid female college athlete and the third-highest overall.
LSU's All-American gymnast Olivia Dunne stands as the highest-paid female college athlete and the third-highest overall.  © Noam Galai / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Meet the Queen of NIL: Olivia Dunne! LSU's All-American gymnast is the highest-paid female college athlete and the third-highest overall.

Dunne's game is strong, with a whopping evaluation of $3.3 million and an impressive 12.1 million followers on social media, as per On3.

While her sport may not be surrounded by the same fanfare as college hoops or football, Dunne is putting women's gymnastics on the map by becoming one of the first college athlete to grace the pages of Sports Illustrated.

2. Shedeur Sanders

Shedeur Sanders has a $4 million NIL valuation, and has already shown up in Google Ads and secured deals with Urban Outfitters and Topps.
Shedeur Sanders has a $4 million NIL valuation, and has already shown up in Google Ads and secured deals with Urban Outfitters and Topps.  © Sean M. Haffey / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Now, let's talk Shedeur Sanders, who is making waves both on and off the field in his debut year at Colorado.

The Buffaloes' starting quarterback not only claims the second-highest athlete paycheck in the nation but also sits high on the football player pay scale.

At one point this year, Shedeur was a hair away from snagging the top spot on the NIL valuation list, only narrowly missing out.

With a cool $4 million valuation, the junior quarterback has already shown up in Google Ads and secured deals with Urban Outfitters and Topps.

Watch out for Sanders! He's coming for that no. 1 spot in the NIL rankings!

1. Bronny James

Bronny James was the highest-paid college athlete in the nation this year.
Bronny James was the highest-paid college athlete in the nation this year.  © KATELYN MULCAHY / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

Guess who's rocking the crown as your highest-paid college athlete in 2023? It's none other than the heir to the throne himself, Bronny James!

Even before setting foot on USC's campus this fall, Bronny was already making headlines with a jaw-dropping six-figure NIL valuation, casually claiming the top spot back in high school.

Now, just two games into his USC journey and still bouncing back from the cardiac arrest he suffered this summer, Bronny's NIL value is skyrocketing.

With a whopping 13.5 million followers across Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter, he's not just balling on the court but also off it.

Deals with Beats by Dre and a cameo in the upcoming Fast And The Furious movie are coming up in 2024.

He may already be top of the list, but Bronny has every chance of jumping even higher next year!

Cover photo: Collage: Screenshot / Instagram / livvydunne & uschoops & shedeursanders

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