There are just a few higher honors for a high school quarterback than to be invited to the Elite 11, and the list of Elite 11 alumni that MOGL Co-Founder Brandon Wimbush can rattle off goes on and on.
“When you talk about former Heisman Trophy winners, first round draft picks… I could only imagine the statistics around the percentage of the guys who go first round that have gone to the Elite 11,” Wimbush said in an exclusive with The NIL Deal. “Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Deshaun Watson. It has earned recognition and credibility because of the talent that comes through the program.
As an Elite 11 alumni himself, Wimbush looked back on his class, a group featuring future NFL quarterbacks Kyler Murray, Drew Lock and a handful of the top high school play callers in the nation.
“They had this docuseries for the week that we were out in Oregon, we were on Nike’s campus, and the story around the guys like Ryan [Brand] and Kyler, they were kind of the focal point and a lot of it had to do with their size, but then you had guys with big personalities like Josh Rosen, Blake Barnett, and then we had guys with like very little personalities like Ricky Towns, myself and Sam Darnold. So there was a great mix of guys, talent and personality,” Wimbush said.
“The elite 11 experience was amazing and I am super grateful for it. It’s obviously some of the top talent at the quarterback position in the country from the high school level. They get to attend and compete against each other for a week and build bonds and relationships that we’re able to carry over for the rest of our lives.”
2023 Elite 11 set to take off
Of course, Wimbush’s career path took a slightly different turn than Murray’s, swapping cleats for sneakers and pads for a polo. As Chief Athletic Officer, Wimbush is a key part to the success of MOGL, who has become a key player in the world of name, image and likeness, partnering with various colleges and universities across the Division I, II, III and JuCo levels as their NIL solution.
As the 2023 Elite 11 approaches, this time in Los Angeles, California from June 14-16, Wimbush and MOGL will play an integral part of the camp, acting as the NIL education partner and partnership sales engine this year with the option of extending the partnership. As NIL education partner, Wimbush will be on-site conducting a panel session discussing the evolution of NIL, how to optimize athletes personal brands, as well as give advice on how to handle the challenges associated with being a high-profile quarterback entering the collegiate landscape.
“[At MOGL] we have our full curriculum course that we sell to consumers, and we sell to universities, and so we’re re-envisioning that and rebranding it to speak to the athletes directly. We want them to be able to go through the course that we’ve created and understand at a very high level understanding around NFL, the best way to leverage the MOGL platform,” Wimbush said. “Specifically, best ways to build your brand and best ways to continue to create content, where you are able to maximize and optimize your NIL value and then briefly go through things such as contract negotiations, as well as what MOGL has to offer on the tax side, as well as how you should be thinking about your finances as a whole. We’re going to have an opportunity to sit down with the athletes and their families and go through some of this at a high level.”
Wimbush continued: “I’m excited about bringing guys back like Max Browne, who is really evolving. He’s gone through the Elite 11 and went to USC and Pitt, he has endured trials throughout his playing career and has worked for guys like Gary Vaynerchuk, now he’s thriving in his lane which involves content creation, his wife is a big time content creator, and so I plan to have him and we’re just gonna do a short Q&A. He’s a great example of building your brand and obviously being before NIL, but a guy who I think would have done phenomenal in the NIL space and should have a lot to share as regards to brand building and content creation.”
MOGL aims to service QBs
As athletes are able to leverage the MOGL platform at the camp, Wimbush sees success in Year No. 1 at the Elite 11 as high engagement with both athletes and families, offering their services and connecting with them on a personal level.
“We’re going to be on site, we’re going to have merchandise, we’re gonna have materials that we want to engage with the families and the athletes themselves, so that’s what success is gonna look like for us, and of course, getting people to sign up and purchase the course will tell us a lot as well.”
Wimbush continued: “There’s gonna be a good amount of high school athletes, we’re expecting probably 150 high school athletes, there’s about 20, 25 Elite 11 finalists and then there’s gonna be 100-plus skill guys that are gonna be there. There’s also going to be five to six college quarterback counselors that are gonna be on site, Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels, so we want to figure out how to work alongside some of their agencies and representatives as well. We’re hoping that these high school athletes are excited to learn about NIL and that’s why the course and education part is gonna be super important for us. And then getting those guys on the platform and helping them build up their brands and get to a point when they walk onto campus that they’re familiar with the mobile platform, and know how to optimize it.”
Importance of building relationships
In 2014, Wimbush wasn’t thinking about brand building and connecting with corporations and future partners. With some of the top high school quarterbacks coming to Los Angeles, such as the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit Dylan Raiola, as well as 12 of the top 16 quarterbacks in the class of 2024, Wimbush’s advice for the athletes is to immediately dive in once they get to campus.
“I wasn’t even looking. I wasn’t thinking about sponsorships and brand building when I was just a junior going into my senior year, but these high school guys are really wanting to eat this up and learn. For me, I would have started at least wanting to build relationships being at the Nike headquarters, and that’s the epitome of where you want to be, with the brands that are associated with this camp, Nike, Gatorade, Panini, some of the most notable brands in this sport space, and they want to engage with these athletes,” Wimbush said.
“If you’re around this type of energy and you have a platform where you can leverage that, I think these athletes should be smart about the kinds of hands that they’re shaking the week they’re on campus and presenting themselves in the best manner, that’s the best advice I can give as someone thinking back to when I was on campus.”