Top 10 Highest-Paid College Athletes To Check

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If you are interested in gymnastics, basketball, or football, checking the highest-paid college athletes can inspire you. Even though these athletes are still very young, they have achieved many honors and awards. 

In this article, we will introduce you to some of the best highest-paid nil college athletes who have played for known teams. If you want to know how to become a fitness influencer or want to start your journey in sports, make sure to check out these athletes. 

10 Best Highest-Paid College Athletes

Are you looking for some of the highest-paid nil college athletes to get inspired by their journey? Here are the top athletes to check and follow. 

1. Bronny James

Let’s start the list of highest-paid college athletes with one of the most handsome guys, Bronny James. LeBron Raymone James Jr. is an American college basketball player for the USC Trojans of the Pac-12 Conference born in 2004. James played several sports as a child, including basketball and soccer, but when he was 10, he chose basketball.

When he was a child, he started his athletic journey by playing for the Miami City Ballers, and now he is one of the highest-paid nil college athletes who plays for the USC Trojans of the Pac-12 Conference. Bronny currently has more than 7M followers on Instagram and is one of the most famous black fitness influencers

2. Shedeur Sanders

When it comes to football, one of the highest-paid college football athletes who earn more than $5M every year is Shedeur Sanders. Shedeur is an American football quarterback born in 2002 who currently plays for the Colorado Buffaloes. When he finished high school in 2021, he started playing for Jackson State Tigers and won the Jerry Rice Award and Deacon Jones Trophy. 

In 2023, he transferred to Colorado Buffaloes, where his father is the head coach. Sanders also has NIL agreements with Beats by Dre and BRADY, making him one of the youngest and highest-paid NIL college athletes. 

3. Livvy Dunne

Now, it’s time to check out one of the highest-paid female college athletes. Olivia Paige Livvy Dunne is an American artistic gymnast and social media influencer born in 2002. She is a member of the LSU Tigers women’s gymnastics and USA national teams. 

With more than 4.5M followers on Instagram, she is one of the known female fitness models to follow. She regularly shares her workout photos and videos and shows other aspects of her life as an athlete. 

4. Arch Manning

One of the youngest athletes on our list is Arch Manning. Archibald Charles Manning is an American football quarterback for the Texas Longhorns born in 2003. Even though he is still very young and has a long way to go, he is one of the highest-paid college athletes. 

In December 2022, he signed a contract to play for the University of Texas, and in June 2023, he signed a letter of commitment to play college football for the Longhorns. He is among the highest-paid nil college athletes, and his NIL valuation is around $2.9M. 

5. Sunisa Lee

If you follow artistic gymnastics championships, you probably know Sunisa Lee. Sunisa Lee is an American artistic gymnast born in 2003, the first woman of Asian descent to win the Olympic all-around title. She is a U.S. women’s national gymnastics team member with six world championships and Olympic medals. 

Sunisa is one of the highest-paid female college athletes, has received numerous honors, and was named Female Athlete of the Year by Sports Illustrated in 2021. She is one of the best teen fitness models, and you can check her Instagram page for her workout videos. 

6. Paige Bueckers

If you think college girls are only those hot cheerleaders we see on the side, you are wrong. Paige Bueckers is an American college basketball player for the UConn Huskies born in 2001. Paige is from Hopkins High School in Minnetonka, Minnesota. She was ranked as the top recruit in her class.

Since first grade, Paige started focusing on basketball and practicing daily to become one of the top 10 highest-paid college athletes. 

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7. Bo Nix

By collecting more than 12,000 total offensive yards and 161 touchdowns, Bo Nix is one of the highest-paid college athletes. Bo Chapman Nix is an American football quarterback born in 2000 who plays for the Oregon Ducks. Nix’s first match was in 2019 against Auburn, where he got the overall record of 21-13.

8. Travis Hunter

Starting by playing for Jackson State Tigers, Travis Hunter is one of the highest-paid nil college athletes. Travis Hunter Jr. is an American football cornerback and wide receiver for the Colorado Buffaloes born in 2003. Travis Hunter made history as the top-ranked recruit in the nation by becoming the first-ever five-star recruit to sign with either an HBCU or an FCS program. 

9. Zia Cooke

One of the professional stars who is also one of the top 10 highest-paid college athletes is Zia Cooke. Zia Cooke is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA, born in 2001. In college, she played for the South Carolina Gamecocks of the Southeastern Conference. 

In the beginning, Zia wanted to become a cheerleader for her school team, but since seventh grade, she has focused on becoming a basketball player. Cooke played basketball for Rogers High School in Ohio. So, if you are wondering who is the highest-paid nil college athlete, Zia is one of the stars. 

10. Caleb Williams

Starting by playing in the Oklahoma Sooners as a freshman in 2021, Caleb Williams is now one of the highest-paid nil college athletes. Caleb Sequan Williams is an American football quarterback for the USC Trojans born in 2001. In 2002, he won multiple awards, including the Heisman Trophy for throwing for 4,537 yards. 

How To Collaborate With Highest-Paid College Athletes

If your business or influencer page is related to athletes and college athletes, collaborating with them can be a great voice for your brand. Most of these athletes are active on social media platforms, especially Instagram and TikTok, which have attracted many followers. 

While it can cost so much to work with the highest-paid college athletes that we mentioned in this blog, there are many more players to discover. Collaborating with these social media personalities can help you reach your target audience and increase your number of customers quickly. But how to find the ones that match your budget and target audience? Ainfluencer is the answer to your solution!

Ainfluencer – The Best Way to Collaborate With Influencers

If finding athletes or fitness influencers is difficult for you, Ainfluencer is the tool that makes it as easy as pie. Ainfluencer is an influencer marketing platform that connects brands and influencers in a safe interface. This service uses an AI-powered search tool to find your best collaboration match in a few minutes. 

You can search over 500,000 creators across Instagram and TikTok using filters such as niche, age, engagement metrics, follower count, etc.  So, if you are ready to increase your audience by collaborating with college athletes, sign up on Ainfluencer for free now


These top 10 highest-paid college athletes are inspiring and have achieved great success at a young age. They have worked hard to become the best in their fields and earned significant financial rewards. So, if you want to know more about their success, make sure to read the blog and follow them on social media. 


1. How Is The NIL Valuation Calculated?

The NIL valuation is calculated based on various factors, including an athlete’s social media following, marketability, and the terms of their endorsement deals. It represents the monetary value of an athlete’s brand and image.

2. Who Are The Highest Paid College Football Players?

Here are some of the most known highest-paid college football athletes:
Caleb Williams
Shedeur Sanders
Arch Manning
Bo Nix
Travis Hunter
Drake Maye
Evan Stewart

3. What Does NIL Stand For?

As a student-athlete, you have probably seen the NIL phrase. It stands for ‘Name, Image, and Likeness,’ and allows collegiate athletes to utilize their talents to generate revenue, even while in school.

4. What Challenges Do College Athletes Face In Managing Their Finances?

Balancing academic and athletic commitments leaves limited time for personal finance management. The sudden influx of income can be overwhelming for young athletes who may not have prior experience handling substantial earnings. Moreover, the uncertainty of a sports career necessitates careful financial planning. Athletes often require assistance, such as financial advisors, to navigate these challenges successfully.


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