By Nathan Denzin, BADGER STRIPES
With NIL now in full swing across college athletics, the Wisconsin Badgers post the prices for a variety of services student athletes offer through their opendorse portal.
Prices listed include Cameo-style shoutouts, autographs, personal appearances, social media posts and a category labeled “pitch anything.” The portal does not list the prices for brand deals, like the ones Braelon Allen, Tanner Mordecai, CJ Williams and Chimere Dike have with Pepsi.
Autographs are usually the biggest ticket item, with 23 of the 25 players listed below marketing their John Handcock as the most expensive item. The average for a signature is about $275. That number is a little misleading, but more on that later.
Shoutouts are usually the cheapest option, again with 23 of the 25 players listing it as the least expensive, for an average of about $35 (minus Allen).
It’s no surprise who leads the pack, but the last name on this list might surprise you, and I’ll give you a hint. It’s a huge impact player, who is not an offensive lineman.
- RB Braelon Allen – Average price $1,237
Number 1 on this list is no surprise – Allen is clearly the best and highest profile player on the team, and has had the most success in Madison of anyone on the team right now. Allen’s cheapest price is a social media post starts at $84, and his most expensive is either an appearance or “pitch anything” which both start at $2,500. Allen also has the aforementioned brand deal with Pepsi – for an unknown amount of money – along with Mordecai, Williams and Dike.
- WR CJ Williams – Average price $279
While technically not a starter, Williams is having enough impact on the team this year to earn a spot in this list. He’s a former 4-star recruit who transferred to the Badgers after a disappointing freshmen campaign at USC. CJ’s least expensive option is a social media post starting at $123, while his most expensive is an autograph starting at $679. That autograph price brings his average up a little, but as we’re going to see, expensive autographs are pretty common.
- RB Chez Mellusi – Average price $179
Mellusi won’t play another down for the Badgers this year, and will likely head to the NFL Draft once Wisconsin’s season is over. But the transfer from Clemson has done more than enough in his three year Badger career to warrant a spot. Mellusi’s cheapest option is a shoutout starting at $102, while his most expensive is an autograph starting at $392.
- WR Chimere Dike – Average price $96.20
Technically the top option in the passing game (despite the stats this year), Dike cracks the top 5 most expensive players in his Senior year. His cheapest option in the opendorse portal is a shoutout starting at $54, while his most expensive is an autograph for $206. He also is part of that Pepsi brand deal. Now four players down, the average price for players is starting to look more affordable.
- SS Hunter Wohler – Average price $73
Wohler has been absolutely massive for the Badgers this year. It’s not hyperbole to say this defense would be significantly worse without the junior. Wohler leads Wisconsin with 57 tackles, doubling the next player, Jake Chaney, who has 36. His cheapest option is a shoutout starting for $42, while his most expensive is an autograph for $160. With the way Wohler is playing this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if his rates increased across the board by Week 14.
- TE Hayden Rucci – Average price $71
Rucci doesn’t lead Badger tight ends in receiving yards this season, but he is still listed as the starter. His cheapest option is a shoutout starting at $41, while his most expensive is an autograph for $154. When compiling all these numbers, this is about where I realized that autographs are really damn expensive.
- LB Maema Njongmeta – Average price $69
My favorite linebacker in this group, Njongmeta is a leader on and off the field for the Badgers. His cheapest option is a shoutout starting at $34, and his most expensive is an autograph for $130.
These three players all have the same rates for each category, which might mean the team set the prices for them, and the players have never looked at it since. There are two averages here because the three allegedly charge $1,277 or more for an autograph, despite their other prices being much more reasonable. The cheapest option for Mordecai, Pauling and Latu is a $32 shoutout, and their most expensive (minus an autograph) is a $183 appearance. I have no idea how much business goes through this portal, but I have to imagine nobody has paid more than a grand for an autograph.
11. CB Jason Maitre – Average price $65
Usually lined up as a cornerback, Maitre has a much higher price tag than his fellow defensive backs. His cheapest option starts at $37 for a shoutout, his most expensive is a $143 autograph.
12. LB C.J. Goetz – Average price $62.80
Goetz hasn’t racked up tackles like his fellow linebackers, but he is second on the team in sacks with 2.5 through six games. His cheapest option is a shoutout starting at $35, and his most expensive is a $141 autograph.
13. WR Bryson Green – Average price $59.40
A transfer from Oklahoma State this year, Green is statistically the Badgers third wideout this season – though he has the second-highest average yards per catch behind Dike. Green’s cheapest option starts at $34 shoutout, and his most expensive is an autograph for $130.
14. OL Jack Nelson – Average price $42.80
We finally get our first offensive lineman on the board, as the junior from Stoughton has established himself as one of the best in the Big Ten up front. His cheapest option starts at $24 for a shoutout, and his most expensive is a $94 autograph, the least expensive so far.
15. LB Jordan Turner – Average price $40.20
Jordan Turner is filling into the shoes of other great Wisconsin linebackers nicely this year, with 20 total tackles. His least expensive option starts at a $24 shoutout, while his most expensive is a $88 autograph.
16. DE Rodas Johnson – Average price $36.80
Johnson is off to a slow start in 2023, after racking up 23 total tackles and a sack last season. He has only four tackles so far this year, but does have half a sack. His cheapest option starts at $21 for a shoutout, while his most expensive is a $81 autograph.
17. NT Gio Paez – Average price $35.60
The big man up front, Paez has been a handful for opposing centers so far this season. His cheapest option starts at $20 for a shoutout, while his most expensive is a $78 autograph.
18. CB Alexander Smith – Average price $34.60
Smith has more than proved his worth in the Badgers secondary this season, tied for the team lead with four pass deflections through five games. His cheapest option starts at $20 for a shoutout, while his most expensive is a $77 autograph.
19. OL Riley Mahlman – Average price $33.20
Now we get to the bulk of the offensive line, who seem to be criminally underrated even in NIL evaluation. Mahlman’s cheapest price starts at $19 for a shoutout, while his most expensive is a $73 autograph. If you want to surprise a young offensive lineman with a cool gift, you could get all the offensive lineman to send a video for about $100.
20. OL Tanor Bortolini – Average price $29.40
Bortolini is the next offensive lineman in a row on this list, with his cheapest option a $18 shoutout and his most expensive starting at a $69 autograph.
21. OL Michael Furtney – Average price $29.20
Our second to last offensive lineman on the list, Furtney lists a shoutout starting at $17 as his cheapest option, while a $64 autograph is the most expensive.
22. LB Daryl Peterson – Average price $22.5-118
I have no idea what’s going on with Daryl Peterson’s prices. The seventh leading tackler so far this year, Peterson lists a shoutout starting at $11 as his cheapest option, and a $43 autograph as the most expensive… kind of. If you want to pitch an idea to the linebacker, it’ll cost you $500.
23. DE James Thompson Jr. – Average price $20.60
Thompson Jr. is another guy I can’t believe is priced so low. The defensive end leads Wisconsin with three sacks on the year, but his prices start at just $11 for a shoutout to his most expensive, a $44 autograph.
24. OL Joe Huber – Average price $20.40
Last but certainly not least on the offensive line, we have Huber. His cheapest option starts at $11 for a shoutout, while his most expensive is a $43 autograph.
25. CB Ricardo Hallman – Average price $18
This was the most astonishing player on the list. Hallman has been unbelievable at cornerback so far this year, Hallman is a top tackler and stands second in pass breakups. He also leads the team with four interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown against Rutgers. But if you want the leading defensive back, it’ll cost you less. Hallman’s cheapest option starts at a $10 shoutout, and most expensive is a $35 autograph. Maybe someone should let him know he can charge a lot more.