DJ Lagway put together one of the best seasons in Texas football history last fall.
The Five-Star Plus+ prospect and top-ranked quarterback in the 2024 recruiting class was named Gatorade National Player of the Year after throwing for 4,631 yards, 58 touchdowns and six interceptions while completing 72.1% of his passes.
But despite his historic senior season at Willis (Texas) High School, Lagway could not monetize his name, image and likeness. In the current Texas state law regarding NIL, it is outlined that prospective athletes are not allowed to monetize their NIL before their enrollment at a university.
Now enrolled at Florida and primed to become a star for the Gators, the quarterback is starting to build his NIL brand. He’s now inked an endorsement deal with Leaf Trading Cards, releasing a NextGen autograph card as part of the agreement. Lagway’s card is available for purchase at $69.99.
Leaf has worked with many high-profile athletes in the last 31 months, signing deals with Tennessee quarterback Nico Iamaleava and USC Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Caleb Williams. The trading card company has signed major partnerships with LSU gymnast Livvy Dunne and UConn basketball star Paige Bueckers.
“My hometown wasn’t a winning school, wasn’t a winning town,” Lagway recently said. “I feel like me coming in there and trying to change the atmosphere and the way of the town and I feel like I did that. I started off my freshman year with two wins. Then my sophomore year six and then (senior year) 12. I think you just have to have winners.
“That’s why me and LJ (McCray) and all the other commits are trying to bring. I’m trying to do that in Gainesville.”
DJ Lagway primed for NIL Era
Because Texas does not allow high schoolers to sign NIL deals, Lagway went to lengths to find innovative ways to share his story before arriving at Florida. He worked closely with Baller Tribe on a documentary following his recruitment, which included four episodes.
Lagway’s father, John Derek Lagway, played running back for Baylor from 1997 to 2001 under coaches Dave Roberts and Kevin Steele. He has been through the recruitment process before. His son is one of the top-ranked recruits coming out of the Lone Star State.
But there’s more to the quarterback than his elite arm.
“We want people to see who he is,” John Derek Lagway previously told On3. “He is a really, really good kid. A leader and trailblazer in our community. We always want to try to help other guys, that’s what it’s all about. I feel like God put him in the situation to help others.”
DJ Lagway shot up the recruiting rankings over the past six months, now sitting as the No. 2 prospect in the 2024 class according to the On3 Ranking. He has more than 70,000 social media followers, too. The Florida quarterback has an On3 NIL Valuation of $859,000, which sits at No. 23 in the college football NIL rankings.
His valuation is No. 34 in the On3 NIL 100, the first of its kind and defacto NIL ranking of the top 100 high school and college athletes ranked by their On3 NIL Valuation.
The On3 NIL Valuation is calculated by combining roster value and personal NIL. Roster value is the value an athlete has by being a member of his or her team at his or her school, which factors into the role of NIL collectives. NIL in an athlete’s name, image and likeness and the value it could bring to regional and national brands outside of the scope of NIL collectives.