Back in March, The Athletic reported that a 2023 five-star recruit was being paid $8 million by an NIL collective to sign with a college football program.

No one has even confirmed who the player is that signed the deal, but the assumption, based on a few clues put together by internet sleuths, is that it’s five-star quarterback Nico Iamaleava.

Iamaleava committed to the Tennessee Vols shortly after The Athletic’s report.

The feeling among fans and reporters has been that the $8 million deal will change quarterback recruiting forever.

Not everyone, however, agrees.

An anonymous Power-5 offensive coordinator told The Athletic this week that he doesn’t think the $8 million deal will become the standard. In his view, it was a “publicity stunt” by the program that made the deal.

“The deal was a one-off,” said the anonymous coordinator. “It’s nowhere near the standard and it’s never going to be near the standard and any good program in reality is never going to want that to be the standard because it’s not sustainable. It was a publicity stunt by (that program). It’s a big deal, and it’s going to be necessary and if you don’t play the game a little bit then you’re going to have no chance to sign a quarterback. The game is more one-tenth of (that deal). The real game is what your university can provide if you’re the starter and do well … not the collective, how much are you going to pay me to go to your school.

“It’s really going to boil down to what schools have the greatest ability to create a market for a kid,” added the coordinator.

I definitely think a statement was made by whichever program offered the $8 million deal. And I think it was a smart move — whether it was Tennessee or another program.

We’re in a new age of college football. Programs have to be proactive instead of reactive. Otherwise, they’ll get left behind.

It sounds like the coordinator interview by The Athletic might be employed by a program that isn’t necessarily being proactive.

Their loss, Tennessee’s gain (and other programs).

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