Six Florida players ready to capitalize on NIL this year

Zach Abolverdi
Gator Sports
Florida quarterback Emory Jones (5) and wide receiver Jacob Copeland (15).

Starting Thursday, the college sports landscape will forever be changed with name, image and likeness. 

Student-athletes in Florida and other states are now able to sign endorsement deals, use their social media platforms to promote businesses and sell their own merchandise. 

Here are six UF players who are ready to capitalize on NIL right away with their followings on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube. 

The news:NCAA Council recommends name, image and likeness policies should be up to schools in states without law beginning Thursday

6. Cornerback Kaiir Elam

Total followers: 30.6K

Kaiir Elam’s on-field play, coupled with his online following, could create more NIL opportunities for him than any Florida player this fall. Elam, whose IG has 21.1K followers, is projected as a top-10 pick in the 2022 NFL draft. Businesses and companies will come calling for an endorsement from a player of that caliber. Elam also has his father, former NFL safety Abram Elam, to help brand himself.

From December:Five questions with Florida defensive back Kaiir Elam

5. Defensive end Princely Umanmielen 

Total followers: 35.5K

Princely Umanmielen was building his brand long before his college career began. The majority of his followers come not from Twitter (6,200), IG (6,973) or TikTok (8,802), but YouTube. Umanmielen has 13.6K subscribers on his channel, which he monetized with behind-the-scenes vlogs from his recruitment and now UF. A video last year showing off his freshman gear generated 227K views. 

4. Defensive tackle Gervon Dexter

Total followers: 39.5K 

The first consensus five-star recruit landed by Florida coach Dan Mullen was Gervon Dexter, who remains his highest-ranked signee to date. That notoriety, along with showing flashes as a freshman, has helped Dexter accumulate a social media following of nearly 40K. His latest posts on Instagram (26.4K) and Twitter (11.9) are shirts with his G9 logo and the words “Counted Out”, which will be released on his new website Wednesday. He and his girlfriend also share a YouTube account, where they feed the homeless in their most recent video.

New role, new hopes:Florida's Gervon Dexter striving for greatness, playing new position

3. Defensive back Trey Dean III

Total followers: 40.6K

No one on the roster rocks sweatbands, sleeves and other Gator gear with more style and swag than Trey Dean III. In fact, the senior safety has developed his own clothing line, TD3, and launched a website to sell merchandise. Dean has more than 40K combined followers on Instagram (29.4K) and Twitter (11.2K) to promote his new apparel and more. 

Taking on new roles:Uncuffed to one position, Dean brings versatility to Florida's defense

2. Quarterback Emory Jones

Total followers: 84.6K

Emory Jones, like most starting quarterbacks in the SEC, is a prime candidate for NIL endorsements. He has the second-largest social media following among Florida players, with Instagram (51.4K) and Twitter (33.2K) counts similar to Jacob Copeland. Jones has already marketed himself in the past with promotional workout videos. Could his next one include a sports drink ad?

A new look:Emory Jones is the Gators' starting quarterback. Here's how Florida's offense will evolve

1. Wide receiver Jacob Copeland 

Total followers: 88.6K

Jacob Copeland’s social media following has been huge since his high school recruitment. Now he’s able to capitalize on it heading into his redshirt junior season. The lone returning starter in Florida’s receiving corps, Copeland has the biggest online platform on the team with his Instagram (55.3K) and Twitter (33.3K) accounts. He tweeted a picture Wednesday of a shirt with his new logo. 

Champion mindset:Jacob Copeland poised for breakout year with Gators

Honorable mention: Safety Donovan McMillon

Total followers: 25.9K 

Early enrollee Donovan McMillon has yet to play a snap for the Gators, but he’s already in position to make money off his name, image and likeness. He has used the four major social media platforms — TikTok (9,347), IG (8,355), Twitter (7,114) and YouTube (1.13K) — to amass a following of nearly 26K fans. McMillon is well-spoken, charismatic and comfortable on camera, so look for him to be featured in a future commercial.