ATHENS — Georgia freshman quarterback Brock Vandagriff is back on campus after being back in the headlines, accepting his National High School Quarterback of the Year Award by the National Quarterback Club last weekend in Arizona.
Vandagriff, a former 5-star prospect at Georgia state championship program Prince Avenue Christian School, was among a star-studded quarterback ensemble at The Scottsdale Resort to collect his national honor.
RELATED: Brock Vandagriff keys stunning 38-0 state title game victory
Brock Vandagriff signed with Georgia after leading Prince Avenue Christian School to the GHSA Class A private state playoff championship.
The list of previous winners would suggest a promising future for Vandagriff, with such collegiate talents as Heisman Trophy favorite Spencer Rattler (Oklahoma) along with Auburn’s Bo Nix and Alabama’s Bryce Young having won the award in previous years.
Vandagriff is part of a deep Georgia quarterback room led by veteran JT Daniels, and including fifth-year junior Stetson Bennett and second-year freshman Carson Beck.
But the excitement level around the 6-foot-3 Vandagriff — who’s listed at 205 but looked thicker in the G-Day Game in April — is unmistakable.
RELATED: Brock Vandagriff off and running with strong G-Day performance
So much so that news broke last week that Buckhead-based retailer Onward Reserve is expected to approach Vandagriff with an endorsement opportunity once the state of Georgia’s Name-Image-Likeness (NIL) legislation takes effect on July 1.
WATCH: Drew Butler explains pending NIL legislation, and how it works for Georgia
Four other UGA athletes are also expected to be approached by Onward Reserve, which holds the motto of “Live authentically,” and drew its name from a hunting trip on Onward Plantation in Onward, Miss., per the brand’s website.
Georgia kicker Jack Podlesny, track star Matthew Boling, baseball standout Connor Tate and All-SEC golfer Trent Phillips have also been identified as student-athletes that Onward Reserve is interested in striking deals with on July 1.
RELATED: How Onward Reserve is expected to approach Georgia players for NIL
Vandagriff’s high profile as a national sought-after quarterback — he originally committed to Oklahoma before flipping back to his home state school — certainly makes him identifiable.
So, too, do the long locks of red hair that flowed out of his helmet during the G-Day Game on April 17, when Vandagriff showcased his athleticism and powerful arm in limited action.
Vandagriff, still growing in Todd Monken’s Pro Style Spread Offense, was 6-of-9 passing for 47 yards and had the longest run of the day for either team, a 13-yard scramble
Former Georgia All-American punter and Ray Guy Award winner Drew Butler, who manages the college division for Icon Source, explained that in this new world of NIL endorsement deals won’t be exclusive to the more proven, veteran players.
RELATED: Details of new UGA NIL agreement with Altius
“You would just be amazed at the types of athletes that brands want to engage with on July 1,” said Butler, whose company serves as a digital marketplace that connects athletes and brands on its thorough transparent, online platform.
“We always talk in hypotheticals when it comes to NIL, the Trevor Lawrences , the Justin Fields, always talking about the Heisman Trophy finalists, always talking about the point guard or the March Madness player of the year,” Butler said.
“But that’s just simply not the case. Those kids will have plenty of opportunities, there is no doubt about that,” Butler said. “But brands are identifying, through their own research, that we think X, Y or Z will be a perfect fit for our endorsement opportunity.”
Vandagriff, with his high school All-American profile, distinguishable looks and quarterback talents, clearly caught the attention of Onward Reserve.
RELATED: Mark Richt thinks NIL deals could challenge team focus
It’s likely other quarterbacks and athletes in states with NIL legislation that goes live on July 1 — Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, New Mexico along with Georgia — will have NIL offers on the table
Auburn’s Nix, who was at the Scottsdale event with his father, former Tigers’ quarterback and Miami offensive coordinator Patrick Nix, would seem a good candidate for an endorsement deal.
Former Alabama quarterback Mac Jones would have certainly been well-positioned if he had another year of college eligibility. Jones was the National College Quarterback of the Year and was represented by his parents at the event in Scottsdale, as he was unable to attend while working out with the New England Patriots.
For Vandagriff, making headlines and playing football has been a way of life, and the Scottsdale awards weekend served up a reminder of his ultimate goals.
Two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner was also at the event, brought into the National Quarterback Club Hall of Fame, along with former Grambling and NFL quarterback James “Shack” Harris and Grambling State and Super Bowl quarterback Doug Williams.
N.C. State and former NFL quarterback Roman Gabriel was also recognized but was not on hand at the event.
NextNational media fuels hype for two Georgia football speedsters