LSU football: Coach claims the Tigers paid $300k for transfer wide receiver

LSU football made significant gains during the most recent transfer portal window. According to an opposing head coach, the Tigers paid handsomely for one of their new players.
Dec 1, 2023; Lynchburg, VA, USA; Liberty Flames wide receiver CJ Daniels (4) catches a touchdown
Dec 1, 2023; Lynchburg, VA, USA; Liberty Flames wide receiver CJ Daniels (4) catches a touchdown / Brian Bishop-USA TODAY Sports

According to Liberty head coach Jamey Chadwell, LSU football paid wide receiver transfer CJ Daniels $300,000 to jump to Baton Rouge.

Chadwell’s comments were first reported by Yahoo! Sports’s Ross Dellenger in an article highlighting Group Five’s struggle to retain talent with the current NIL system.

“LSU paid for a car and an apartment and like $300,000,” Chadwell said regarding his former star player’s exit.

""We are a farm system. No matter who you are, you are going to have to try hard to hold on to your top players. That gets taxing. We are taking the approach that if a freshman plays and he does well, we are only going to have him for one more year.""

Jamey Chadwell, Liberty head coach

I can’t confirm what LSU football offered CJ Daniels to join Brian Kelly’s roster, but it was likely a significant sum. On3 currently lists the Lilburn (Ga.) native’s annual NIL valuation at $494k.

Chadwell’s remarks were among several G5 coaches describing their struggles in an NIL market dominated by college football’s top programs. And while the program is excellent for players, it arguably creates greater separation between the top Power Five and G5 programs. Such an imbalance does not bode well for G5 teams’ potential to garner more than one spot in the expanded College Football Playoff.

I sympathize with G5 teams regarding NIL, and I appreciate Chadwell not blaming Daniels for making a potentially life-changing move. Conversely, it is ironic to hear a coach complain about money when he’s employed by a church-backed university with $3.3 billion in assets. Perhaps Chadwell’s time is best spent urging Liberty’s leadership to dedicate more resources toward NIL opportunities instead of complaining about the NIL system.

College football programs cannot pay their players within the NIL structure. However, the programs that have established a strong relationship with an NIL collective (including recruiting wealthy alumns to contribute) and provide NIL education and resources to its athletes are ahead of the game.

For example, the University of Alabama recently cut the ribbon on The Advantage Center. The unique facility provides student-athletes with NIL-enabling infrastructure, including media equipment and a content team.

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Ultimately, Liberty football’s loss is the Tigers’ gain. Daniels caught 55 passes for 1,067 yards and ten touchdowns with the Flames last season. Originally a three-star recruit within the 2020 class, the 6-foot, 179-pound receiver is expected to fill some of the void left by Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. entering the NFL Draft.