Top 10 Highest Paid College Football Players

John Rizzo

10 Highest-Paid College Football Players

College football is more than just a game; it’s a multi-billion dollar industry that has created a platform for student-athletes to showcase their talents and earn significant compensation. 

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of the top 10 highest-paid college football players, exploring many factors. From star quarterbacks to electrifying running backs, these players excelled on the gridiron. 

They also leveraged their athletic prowess to secure endorsement deals, sponsorship agreements, and unprecedented financial opportunities. So, stay focused. 

Top 10 Highest-Paid College Football Players

In the realm of college football, these top 10 highest-paid players have showcased their athletic prowess on the gridiron. 

They also leveraged their talent and marketability to secure lucrative endorsement deals and sponsorship agreements, making them trailblazers in the evolving landscape of student-athlete compensation.

1. Arch Manning – $3.8 Million

Arch Manning

As a highly coveted quarterback, Arch Manning, hailing from the famed Manning football dynasty, has drawn immense attention from college football programs across the nation. His natural talent, arm strength, and football IQ make him one of the most sought-after recruits in recent memory.

Recruiting Buzz

Arch Manning’s recruitment has been a media spectacle, with top-tier programs vying for his commitment. His last name carries weight in the football world, but it’s his own skills and potential that truly set him apart.

Family Legacy

Arch Manning comes from a long line of football greatness, with his grandfather Archie Manning and uncles Peyton and Eli Manning all achieving legendary status in the sport. The expectations for him are high, but he has the talent and drive to carve his path.

2. Bryce Young – $3.5 Million

Bryce Young

As the starting quarterback for the University of Alabama, Bryce Young has quickly risen to prominence in college football. His electrifying playmaking ability, accuracy, and poise have endeared him to Crimson Tide fans and NFL scouts alike.

Heisman Contender

Bryce Young’s standout performances during his debut season at Alabama catapulted him into the Heisman Trophy conversation. As a rising star, he’s a strong contender for the prestigious award in the upcoming seasons.

Leadership and Composure

Despite being a young quarterback, Bryce Young exhibits remarkable leadership qualities on and off the field. His poise under pressure and ability to rally his teammates have been key to Alabama’s success.

3. C. J. Stroud – $2.9 Million

C. J. Stroud

As the starting quarterback for Ohio State University, C. J. Stroud has taken the reins of one of college football’s premier programs. His strong arm, accuracy, and poise in the pocket have made him a standout performer for the Buckeyes.

Heir to Greatness

Stroud follows in the footsteps of recent Ohio State quarterbacks who have excelled in the college ranks and gone on to the NFL. As a talented young signal-caller, he has the potential to leave his own mark on the Buckeyes’ storied history.

Championship Aspirations

With C. J. Stroud under center, Ohio State is perennially in contention for conference titles and national championships. His steady leadership and ability to perform under pressure are vital to the Buckeyes’ aspirations.

4. Caleb Williams – $2.6 Million

Caleb Williams

Caleb Williams, the star quarterback for the University of Oklahoma, made a significant impact during his freshman year. His dual-threat abilities, athleticism, and football IQ have made him a dynamic presence on the field.

Playmaker and Game Changer

Caleb Williams has been praised for his ability to make big plays and turn the tide of games in Oklahoma’s favor. His versatility and competitive spirit make him a formidable opponent for any defense.

Future Star

As one of the brightest young talents in college football, Caleb Williams’ potential seems limitless. With several years of eligibility ahead of him, he has the chance to elevate Oklahoma to national title contention.

5. Bijan Robinson – $1.8 Million

Bijan Robinson

Bijan Robinson, the star running back for the University of Texas, is a dynamic playmaker known for his speed, agility, and ability to break tackles. He has quickly established himself as one of the best running backs in college football.

Versatility and Explosiveness

Bijan Robinson’s versatility makes him a potent offensive weapon for Texas. Whether running between the tackles or catching passes out of the backfield, he consistently delivers big plays.

Impact on Offense

Robinson’s performances have made him the focal point of Texas’ offense. His ability to change the course of a game with his explosive runs and game-breaking plays has been crucial to the Longhorns’ success.

6. Marvin Harrison Jr. – $1.6 Million

Marvin Harrison Jr.

Marvin Harrison Jr., the son of NFL Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison, is a highly touted wide receiver for Ohio State University. Known for his exceptional route-running and strong hands, Harrison Jr. has quickly emerged as one of the top receiving talents in college football.

Earnings and Recognition

As of his 2023 season, Marvin Harrison Jr. has secured endorsement deals and sponsorship agreements that have significantly boosted his earnings. His impressive performances on the field have garnered attention from NFL scouts and media outlets, further enhancing his market value.

Potential for Future Success

With several years of eligibility remaining, Harrison Jr. has the potential to continue honing his skills and improving his draft stock. If he maintains his current trajectory, he could be a top prospect in the NFL Draft in the coming years.

7. Hansel Enmanuel – $1.6 Million

Hansel Enmanuel, a standout offensive tackle for the University of Georgia, has impressed scouts and fans alike with his size, strength, and technique. His ability to protect the quarterback’s blindside and open lanes for the running game has solidified him as one of the best offensive linemen in college football.

Contract and Expectations

With his rising prominence, Hansel Enmanuel has signed lucrative endorsement deals and sponsorship agreements. NFL analysts and scouts have high expectations for him, projecting him to be an early-round pick in the NFL Draft.

Team Leadership

Beyond his on-field talents, Emmanuel is known for his leadership qualities, motivating and inspiring his teammates. His dedication and work ethic have earned him respect both on and off the field.

8. Drake Maye – $1.5 Million

Drake Maye

Drake Maye, a promising quarterback for the University of North Carolina, has garnered attention for his strong arm and ability to make precise throws under pressure. He has demonstrated composure beyond his years and is a rising star in the college football quarterback landscape.

Earnings and Recognition

Drake Maye’s impressive performances have attracted endorsement deals and sponsorship agreements, adding to his earnings as a student-athlete. His skill set and potential have earned him recognition as one of the top young quarterbacks in the nation.

NFL Draft Aspirations

With his talent and composure, Maye has the potential to be a highly coveted prospect in the NFL Draft. His continued development and performance could lead to a successful transition to the professional ranks.

9. Will Anderson – $1.4 Million

Will Anderson

Will Anderson, a dominant defensive end for the University of Alabama, is a force to be reckoned with on the gridiron. His explosive speed, relentless pursuit of quarterbacks, and ability to disrupt offensive lines have made him one of the most feared defensive players in college football.

Earnings and Awards

Will Anderson’s remarkable performances have earned him several accolades, including All-American honors and Defensive Player of the Year awards? His exceptional skills and tenacity have made him a standout player with a high market value.

Future NFL Prospects

With his skill set and impact on the field, Will Anderson is already drawing comparisons to some of the NFL’s premier pass rushers. As he continues to develop and refine his game, he projects to be a highly sought-after prospect in the NFL Draft.

10. Jimbo Fisher – $1.3 Million

Jimbo Fisher

While not a player, Jimbo Fisher, the head coach of Texas A&M University, is one of the highest-paid and most successful college football coaches in the nation. Under his leadership, Texas A&M has risen to prominence in the competitive SEC and earned a reputation as a top program.

Coaching Salary and Achievements

Jimbo Fisher’s lucrative coaching contract places him among the highest-paid coaches in college football. His tenure at Texas A&M has been marked by impressive performances, including bowl victories and prominent recruiting classes.

National Title Aspirations

Fisher’s track record of success and his ability to recruit top talent has raised expectations for the Texas A&M program. With the potential for championship runs, Fisher’s coaching prowess and leadership are crucial to the Aggies’ ambitions.

These highest-paid college football players and coach have earned their status through exceptional performances, talent, and leadership. Their market value is a testament to their impact on the field and their potential for future success in the sport.

Key Factors Influencing Their Hefty Paycheck

The hefty paychecks of the highest-paid college football players are influenced by several key factors that make them stand out in the competitive world of college athletics. These factors include:

Performance on the Field

Players who consistently excel on the gridiron, lead their teams to victories and achieve individual accolades often command higher compensation due to their impact on the game.

Position and Role

Quarterbacks and skill position players tend to attract more attention and endorsements due to their visibility and playmaking abilities, leading to higher earning potential.

Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) Rights

Recent changes in NCAA rules allowing players to profit from their name, image, and likeness have opened new avenues for players to secure endorsement deals and sponsorships.

Marketability and Branding

Players with a strong personal brand, engaging social media presence, and likability are more appealing to sponsors and advertisers, leading to increased earning opportunities.

College Program Prestige

Players from prominent football programs or schools with a large and passionate fanbase often attract more attention from sponsors and advertisers, contributing to higher pay.

Individual Awards and Achievements

Players who receive national recognition and win prestigious awards, such as the Heisman Trophy, gain additional marketability and earning potential.

Social Media and Online Influence

Players with a substantial following on social media platforms can leverage their online presence to secure endorsement deals and brand partnerships.

Performance in High-Profile Games

Standout performances in marquee matchups, bowl games, or national championships can boost a player’s market value and earning potential.

Professional Aspirations

The potential for a successful career in the NFL or other professional leagues can make a player more attractive to sponsors and advertisers, leading to higher compensation.

Personal Charisma and Charitable Endeavors

Players who engage in community service or charitable endeavors can enhance their image and appeal to brands that align with social responsibility.


How do college football players earn money?

College football players can earn money through various avenues, including endorsement deals, social media monetization, signing autographs, creating merchandise, and leveraging their name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights.

What are NIL rights, and how do they impact player compensation?

NIL rights refer to the ability of college athletes to profit from their own name, image, and likeness. With the recent changes in NCAA rules, players can now enter into endorsement deals and use their personal brand to generate income.

Are the highest-paid college football players primarily quarterbacks?

While quarterbacks are often among the highest-paid players due to their leadership role and visibility on the field, other positions, such as star running backs or exceptional defensive players, can also secure lucrative endorsement deals and sponsorships.

How do player salaries compare to coaches’ salaries in college football?

While top coaches in college football can earn multi-million-dollar salaries, the recent NIL changes have allowed players to earn substantial incomes through endorsements and other opportunities, narrowing the gap between player and coach earnings.

What are the potential long-term implications of players’ compensation in college football?

The evolution of player compensation in college football has sparked debates on issues like amateurism, fairness, and the impact on competitive balance. The long-term effects of these developments on college athletics remain a subject of ongoing discussion.

End Call

The top 10 highest-paid college football players are not only excelling on the field but also leveraging their fame and talent to secure lucrative compensation through endorsements and NIL rights. 

As the landscape of college athletics continues to evolve, these players serve as trailblazers for future generations of student-athletes, challenging traditional notions of amateurism and setting new precedents for financial opportunities in college sports. 

With the ever-changing dynamics of player compensation, college football is witnessing a paradigm shift that will undoubtedly shape the future of the sport and its impact on student-athletes. Best wishes. 

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John Rizzo

I am a professional rugby player in the Washington DC-Baltimore area. I have been playing rugby for over 10 years and have had the opportunity to play in many different countries. I am also a coach for both youth and adult rugby teams. I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Sports Management and Marketing. I am currently working on my MPA from American University and plan to pursue this career path after graduating next year. LinkedIn