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USC commit Malachi Nelson inks first NIL deal

Malachi Nelson USC
Photo credit: Sports Illustrated

Malachi Nelson has yet to play a down of college football, but the future USC star is already cashing in.

Nelson, a five-star quarterback who is entering his senior year at Los Alamitos High School, announced in November that he committed to USC, and by the time he joins first-year head coach Lincoln Riley at the college football powerhouse, he is expected to land close to a million dollars in endorsement deals.

Nelson told that he signed an NIL deal with The h.wood Group, which is a global hospitality company based in Los Angeles that has more than 30 restaurants and clubs around the world.

According to ESPN, Malachi Nelson is expected to promote Texas-style BBQ restaurant, SLAB, through his social media accounts and he will host USC tailgating events as well. The h.wood Group was co-founded by two USC alumni, one of which is former walk-on quarterback John Terzian.

“It’s cool to be a part of it and be at the front of everything that’s happening, especially in the high school space,” Nelson told the website. “It’s good to get to this point where people are getting rewarded for what they do. It’s amazing to be at the front of it.”

Nelson told ESPN that he and his father approached the NIL space very carefully, which included talks with Carl Williams — the father of USC star Caleb Williams — as well as Alabama’s Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, and his father, Craig.

And even though Nelson can now profit off his name, image, and likeness during his collegiate years, he admitted that he is chasing something greater in the near future.

“This is all fun and it’s good to be comfortable now,” Nelson told ESPN. “At the end of the day, we’re chasing the NFL and that second contract when you really get paid. All of this is lining up to get to that point.”

Malachi Nelson, who stands at 6-foot-3, is the No. 2 recruit in the class of 2023, behind only Arch Manning – the nephew of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Peyton and Eli.