HomeSportsTexans' C.J. Stroud becomes 'major donor' to Ohio State NIL collective

Texans’ C.J. Stroud becomes ‘major donor’ to Ohio State NIL collective

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One of Ohio State‘s most prominent name, image and likeness collectives has added another major addition amid a very successful offseason in Columbus: Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud.

Stroud, who was previously sponsored by THE Foundation during his time with the Buckeyes, has rejoined the collective as a “major donor.”

Stroud is fresh off a stellar rookie season in Houston, leading the Texans to an AFC South title and appearance in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs after being one of the worst teams in the NFL the previous three seasons before Stroud’s arrival. He’s heavily favored to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year after accomplishing such feats.

It’s unclear how much Stroud is giving to the collective, but it appears to be significant. His rookie contract with the Texans was reportedly worth $36.3 million fully guaranteed. What’s more, he’ll likely add some lucrative endorsement deals on top of that after his breakout first season in the pros, as we’ve seen with breakout stars in the past.

Ohio State, meanwhile, has had one of the best offseasons in college football over the past two weeks, perhaps spurred in part by rival Michigan winning the national championship.

Aside from top draft prospects Marvin Harrison Jr. and Tommy Eichenberg, virtually every major contributor to last season’s 12-2 OSU team has returned for another year, including several players who were draft eligible, such as running back TreVeyon Henderson, wide receiver Emeka Egbuka and pass-rusher J.T. Tuimoloau

[Related: How Michigan winning the national championship has influenced Ohio State’s offseason]

Additionally, the Buckeyes have assembled perhaps one of the best transfer classes not just this year, but in the entire transfer portal era, bringing in quarterback Will Howard from Kansas State, running back Quinshon Judkins from Ole Miss, as well as safety Caleb Downs and quarterback Julian Sayin, two top-end talents who left Alabama after the sudden retirement of head coach Nick Saban.

It’s unclear how big a role NIL has played in Ohio State’s ability to attract and retain talent, especially as one of the most prolific programs in college football well before this current era. THE Foundation, which is co-founded and led by 2014 Buckeyes national champion QB Cardale Jones, boasts several prominent former OSU athletes among its board members. It is not affiliated with Ohio State University but lists itself as an “official partner” of the Buckeyes’ athletic department.

Additionally, THE Foundation has partnerships with several key members of the 2024 Buckeyes roster, including Downs, Howard, Egbuka, 2024 No. 1 overall high school recruit Jeremiah Smith and many more.

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