Coming out of Brockton’s (Massachusetts) Thayer Academy Samson Okunlola developed an alter ego known as “Pancake Honcho.” It became such a part of Okunlola’s recruitment last year, that schools would arrange pancake-themed photoshoots while on his recruiting visits.
Okunlola used his second self to strike his first NIL deal while in high school with Kodiak Cakes. Now the Miami Hurricanes’ offensive lineman is back in the kitchen cooking up another NIL partnership with Sergio’s Restaurants, a Miami-based eatery with eight different locations.
In a deal facilitated by the Canes Connection collective, Okunlola is promoting 10 dine-in pancake orders and an exclusive meet-and-greet opportunity. The digital “Pancake Honcho Card” sells for $53.10, and fans get 10 dine-in orders of three pancakes at Sergio’s locations in Pines, Doral, Bird Road, Westchester, Kendall, West Kendall and Coral Way.
“A portion of each sale supports Samson’s athletic journey, fusing sports and flavor into a purposeful and impactful experience,” Sergio’s said on social media when promoting the NIL deal.
Okunlola also filmed a commercial at Sergio’s to promote the deal.
“Nothing hits the spot better than a big plate of…” Okunlola says in the spot before he’s interrupted by a server with a monster plate of pancakes. “With Sergio’s digital card, you can access this and many more amazing offers. For $50 this can be yours. This offer is Honcho approved.”
The commercial ends with Okunlola taking an offensive lineman-sized bite of the pancakes.
How ‘Pancake Honcho’ was born
Samson Okunlola told the Brockton Enterprise that the “Pancake Honcho” nickname was birthed after his sophomore season of high school in honor of devastating blocks where he would block defenders off their feet. He said he came up with the idea with his brother, Samuel Okunlola, now a defensive lineman at Pitt.
“I came up with it,” Okunlola said. “But he was my inspiration.”
Pancake Honcho quickly became a hit from a branding and recognition standpoint. It got so popular it has become a central part of Okunlola’s recruiting process.
In fact, Okunlola went viral with a post from his November visit to Florida. While in Gainesville, he shared a series of images from an iconic pancake chef photo shoot. The shoot featured him drizzling syrup over a tall stack of pancakes while in a Gator uniform.
He did a similar photo shoot while on a visit to Miami – the school he eventually signed with. And now the nickname is a central part of his identity in Coral Gables, where’s now the backup left tackle as a true freshman.
Samson Okunlola’s solid On3 NIL Valuation
With his status as a five-star recruit combined with the roster value of playing at Miami, Samson Okunlola has an On3 NIL Valuation of $300,000. That ranks as the No. 159 player in the On3 College Football NIL Ranking. He also built a strong social media presence with more than 34,000 followers.
He originally announced his partnership with Canes Connection in March, and the collective has been teasing that a special pancake promotion was in the works with Okunlola.
The On3 NIL Valuation is the industry’s leading index that sets the standard market NIL value for high school and college athletes. A proprietary algorithm, the On3 NIL Valuation calculates an athlete’s NIL value using dynamic data points targeting three primary categories: performance, influence and exposure.
While the algorithm includes deal data, it does not act as a tracker of the value of NIL deals athletes have completed to date, nor does it set an athlete’s NIL valuation for their entire career.