D’Eriq King and the 14th-ranked Miami Hurricanes will kick off their 2021 football season on Saturday against No. 1 Alabama, an immediate test for a group that is looking for its first ACC title in its history.
No matter the winner of the game, King has already been crowned as one of the rulers for NIL (name, image and likeness) success.
As of Sept. 3, King has signed with six businesses: College HUNKS Hauling Junk and Moving Company; The Wharf, an outdoor event space in Miami; Murphy Auto Group; Dreamfield, a company aimed at providing avenues for student-athletes to profit off of their name; Panini America; and the Florida Panthers.
King has also started his own clothing line, which includes sweatshirts, hats, jackets and other branded apparel.
King has banked a considerable amount of money and could even earn more, depending on the appearances he makes with certain businesses and endorsements to come.
Here is an overview of King’s deals and potential future opportunities.
College HUNKS Hauling Junk and Moving
On July 1, the first day in which Florida and several other states put NIL laws into effect, King signed with College HUNKS Hauling Junk and Moving , a nationwide brand that offers “stress-free solutions for moving and junk-hauling needs,” along with Hurricane teammate and redshirt junior safety Bubba Bolden.
It was one of three deals that King signed that day. According to Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated , King received “an immediate five-figure signing bonus” from the company.
King participated in an interview with College HUNKS Hauling Junk and Moving founder Omar Soliman, who said King signed with the organization at 12:01 a.m. on July 1, apparently “making him the first NCAA athlete to ever sign an endorsement deal under this NIL ruling.” Soliman was also very complimentary of King’s personality.
“D’Eriq embodies our company core values,” Soliman said. “If you spend a few minutes with him, you can tell right away who he is. He’s a hard worker, he’s got a lot of grit and he’s really a testament to our company and our core values and our company’s purpose to move the world.”
On July 1, King also signed with The Wharf , an event venue along the Miami River.
One of the business’ partners, Emi Guerra , said the organization signed the deal — which includes an appearance fee toward King at $2,000 per hour — because of its belief in “the right for college athletes to make beyond scholarships.”
“Before this, [King] was coming to the Wharf a lot on his own,” Guerra said to the South Florida Business Journal . “He was a fan of us, and we were a fan of his, so it all worked out.”
King added that the opportunity for NIL deals with The Wharf and other companies has been “long overdue” and that he hopes he can inspire opportunities for more players.
“I’m super excited for guys to make money,” King said in an interview with CaneSport.com. “Not myself, but my teammates, the offensive line, especially. For everybody on my team to have an opportunity to make money. Any way I can help that, I’ll do it. I’m super excited for it.”
Murphy Auto Group
King also inked a deal with Murphy Auto Group, which has several dealerships in Georgia and Florida.
The business has been around since 1979 and is reportedly well-known for its “philanthropic efforts” and “long history of supporting community initiatives, military organizations, humanitarian missions, higher learning institutions, youth initiatives and a host of donations throughout the year.”
According to Alan Rubenstein of CanesWarning.com , King received a $10,000 signing bonus from Murphy Auto Group.
Along with his endorsement deals, King and Florida State senior quarterback McKenzie Milton signed to become co-founders of Dreamfield , an NIL-based platform which books student-athletes for live events, including autograph signings, meet-and-greets and speaking engagements.
On the site, King is charging $2,000 an hour for events, third-most among Dreamfield Ambassadors behind Milton ($2,500) and Ole Miss junior quarterback Matt Corral ($10,000).
“We are entering a new era of technology that allows sports trading cards to move from the physical realm to the digital one, and I am proud to be on the forefront of this change,” King said to ESPN.com . “Being one of the first college athletes in history to have a high-quality NFT created in my likeness is a dream come true, and to help other athletes be memorialized in digital art through Dreamfield is a big reason why I helped create this company.”
Dreamfield also planned to enter the NFT (non-fungible token) market, with King and Milton among available athletes for the cards.
On July 28, Panini America announced that King, Corral and Wisconsin sophomore quarterback Graham Mertz became the organization’s first exclusive NIL athletes, allowing them “to sell footballs, helmets and other items while also appearing at public signing events,” according to ESPN’s Dan Murphy .
“NIL has created an opportunity for us to work with college student athletes in a new way,” Panini America CEO Mark Warsop said in a news release.”…Starting our relationship with these athletes under NIL is just the first step in what will be a very long partnership with us as these players compete on the collegiate football field and make their way to becoming athletes that play at the professional level.”
The NHL’s Florida Panthers announced on Aug. 9 they signed King to a “first-of-its-kind NIL program.”
King was labeled as the Panthers first “FLA Athlete,” reportedly making him the first collegiate athlete in the United States to sign an NIL agreement with a professional sports team. According to the team’s release, King will appear at the team’s games and events and “work closely with the Panthers digital and social media teams to produce content to engage fanbases across South Florida.”
“We are thrilled to welcome D’Eriq to Panthers Territory as our first ‘FLA Athlete,” said Panthers Chief Strategy Officer Sam Doerr. “D’Eriq is a superstar both on and off the field and we are excited to reach and engage South Florida sports fans in new ways through this collaborative partnership.”
Miami QB D’Eriq King has become the first college player to sign an endorsement deal with the Florida Panthers, the NHL team announced.
King will appear at some games and events, engage with fans on social media and produce digital content.
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) August 9, 2021
According to the Panthers, King’s signing is “just the start” for their “FLA Athlete” program, which will expand to include more student-athletes attending school in Florida.
D’Eriq King Apparel Line
King launched his own branding website on July 1, which includes a baseball jersey, bib, bomber jacket, baseball cap, sweatshirt and joggers, among other items, on its apparel page .
The website was one of several moves that King made on that opening day. Per Sports Illustrated , King said the three deals with College HUNKS Junk and Moving, Murphy Auto Group and The Wharf should net him more than $20,000.
It is unclear how much money King has made from his website, though his most expensive items are a green and black “AOP Bomber Jacket,” each priced at $74.99.
More to Come?
King told Sports Illustrated that he heard from over 50 brands on the opening day for NIL deals, excluding one company he’d especially like to hear from: Lululemon.
King says there are more deals on the way. He’s heard from more than 50 brands today alone.
However, there is one specific brand he hopes to sign with but hasn’t yet heard from: Lululemon.
He’s put out feelers to the athleisure clothing line that he adores.
Ahem, @lululemon ..
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) July 1, 2021
New deals are likely to be made available for King and thousands of other NCAA student-athletes in the months ahead. Given the start he has gotten off to, King should have plenty more opportunities to reel into his NIL kingdom.