Miami Hurricanes Van Dyke, Garcia, Taylor, Frierson sign big-bucks NIL deals. More to come

·5 min read

The Name, Image and Likeness trend at the University of Miami is on an upward trajectory and steadily rising — as are the amounts of the contracts.

Add quarterback Jake Garcia to the list of Miami Hurricanes who have signed relatively hefty contracts to promote the businesses of Miami attorney and huge Hurricanes fan John Ruiz — a billionaire who not only is pumping his financial support into UM athletics but also leading the charge to bring a football stadium closer to the Coral Gables campus.

Garcia, a nationally heralded recruit when he signed with Miami heading into the 2021 season, has signed a two-year contract worth $60,000 ($5000 a month) in 2022 and $85,000 ($7083 a month) in 2023, which has been approved by UM, his marketing agent, Malki Kawa, told the Miami Herald on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Ruiz confirmed to the Miami Herald that at least 17 UM football players have signed contracts to promote his companies LifeWallet and/or Cigarette Racing Team and participate in community service events. The players are represented by NIL marketing agents Malki Kawa and Peter Ariz of First Round Management, and Drew Rosenhaus.

Contracts vary. For example, former five-star defensive tackle Leonard Taylor, veteran striker Gilbert Frierson and starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke will each receive $50,000 over the next 12 months, Ruiz said. Garcia’s amount was not disclosed, but will likely be substantial.

In addition to Garcia, Kawa and Ariz represent Taylor, Frierson, running backs Jaylan Knighton ($40,000 for 12 months) and Don Chaney Jr. ($40,000 for 12 months), cornerback DJ Ivey ($43,000 for 12 months), receiver Brashard Smith ($40,000 for 12 months) and offensive lineman DJ Scaife ($43,000 for 12 months).

Other Kawa/Ariz players with South Florida ties include FAU quarterback N’Kosi Perry, SMU tailback Frank Gore Jr. and his father Frank Gore Sr., and FIU tight end Rivaldo Fairweather.

Rosenhaus posted on social media that he represents Van Dyke, safeties Kam Kinchens and James Williams, defensive end Jahfari Harvey, tight ends Will Mallory and Elijah Arroyo, offensive tackle Zion Nelson and receivers Romello Brinson and Jacolby George.

Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke (9) looks to pass against Duke during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Durham, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke (9) looks to pass against Duke during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Durham, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

NIL Contracts

Contracts vary. Some, such as Kinchens, Williams, Mallory and Nelson, will get $3,500 a month ($42,000 total), Ruiz said. Others, such as Harvey, George, Arroyo and Brinson, will get $3,000 a month ($36,000 total).

Additionally, Ruiz told the Herald that several other UM athletes have been offered NIL deals by his companies.

“There are five University of Miami baseball players who have been offered NIL deals and there have been verbal agreements now being converted into actual agreements,’’ Ruiz said. “That number will grow. There are multiple UM basketball players who have been offered NIL deals and I’m waiting to see their decisions.’’

Ruiz said the NIL contracts with football players “have been reviewed by [UM] and we received an email back from them stating the agreements we submitted did not involve any conditions that would deem any of those players ineligible.

“The only thing that changes, based on the amount of the contract, is that some of the players are required to perform more services than others. Some players are required to have more public appearances and some, more zoom appearances.”

Ruiz said he’s using the same type contracts for other athletes who were offered deals “so there’s no reason to suspect any of the ones we submitted will not be approved.’’

‘Super gratifying’

Said Kawa: “These deals are super gratifying, super important. The landscape of college football has changed and watching these kids’ faces when they sign these deals and knowing the financial pressure they go through is being alleviated is obviously gratifying.

“So, thanks to John Ruiz and Lomelo’s Meat Market. The support they give these kids is unparalleled and I can’t even express how appreciated they are.’’

The players will be required to promote LifeWallet as a brand, and some, as Frierson was scheduled to do Wednesday afternoon, will film commercials disseminated through social media. Taylor’s deal has him representing both LifeWallet and Cigarette Racing Team.

“It will be the first-ever commercial from LifeWallet’s perspective for an NIL deal,’’ Ruiz said.

LifeWallet “provides healthcare practitioners access to your entire health history, including critical medical information that could save your life or that of a loved one,’’ Ruiz posted on Twitter last week.

Johnny Ruiz, John’s son and a former UM standout infielder from 2014 through 2017, is the chief operating officer for Cigarette Racing Team, a power-boat manufacturing company.

“We all want winning teams but a lot of times we lose sight of what these kids go through, where they come from,’’ John Ruiz told Joe Rose on Wednesday in a WQAM interview. “This is to improve the community. A lot of times these players can put smiles on other kids’ faces.

“I’m working with children’s hospitals now trying to make all my contacts networking. ...The most important thing is you’ve got to understand what a difference you make in these players’ lives when you’re able to get them some compensation for their name, image and likeness. It’s game-changing for them because many of them come from poor backgrounds and they really struggle.”

Former UM defensive tackle Nesta Silvera is transferring to Arizona State and will play for coach Herm Edwards, a source told the Herald on Wednesday.

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