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Stetson Bennett, Brock Bowers use NIL to give back for holidays

Stetson Bennett, Brock Bowers use NIL to give back for holidays
Stetson Bennett and the Bulldogs will take on Ohio State in a College Football Playoff semifinal matchup on New Year’s Eve. (Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

ATHENS, Ga. (BVM) – At a perfect 13-0, the Georgia Bulldogs have been the best team in college football so far this season, and are currently preparing to defend their national championship in the College Football Playoff where they will take No. 4 Ohio State on New Year’s Eve in a semifinal matchup.

However, some players have also found time off the field recently to give back during the holiday season thanks to their NIL deals. This past weekend, Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett, tight end Brock Bowers, and cornerback Malaki Starks took time on their off day to take kids Christmas shopping.

Both Bowers and Starks partnered with Dick’s Sporting Goods and Associated Credit Union to take 16 kids Christmas shopping, with each child getting $300 to spend. 

Meanwhile, Bennett partnered with Onward Reserve and Everett Sports Marketing to take an additional 10 kids Christmas shopping, with each getting a $200 budget.

In total, nearly $7,000 was spent to help brighten the holiday season for 26 kids. The kind gesture by Bennett, Bowers and Starks also followed that of Georgia offensive lineman Micah Morris. On Friday night, Morris bought over 100 Christmas gifts through his NIL money and donated them to The Boys and Girls Club in Athens to create a special holiday for many.

As defending national champions, Georgia has some of the top NIL earners in college football, particularly Bennett. Currently, the Heisman finalist’s NIL valuation sits at $1.3 million according to On3, which is No. 8 in all of college football. In the past, he has partnered with firms such as Fanatics, AARP and Shuman Farms, among others.

Meanwhile, Bowers is not far behind Bennett with an NIL valuation of $1.1 million, which ranks 12th amongst college football players. Like Bennett, the tight end has also signed multiple deals, some coming with the likes of Morgan & Morgan and Zaxby’s.

Starks is just a freshman for the Bulldogs, but he too already has a significant NIL valuation of $274,000.

Of course, all three players have been standouts on the field for undefeated Georgia this season as well. Starks has been an integral part of a tremendous Georgia defense with 64 total tackles and two interceptions.

On offense, Bennett and Bowers have formed one of the top passing-game duos in the country. Bennett, a former walk-on, has thrown for 3,425 yards in his senior season as well as 20 touchdowns. Bowers has caught six of those touchdowns, making 52 grabs overall for 726 yards. Earlier this month, Bowers was named the winner of the Mackey Award, given out to the best tight end in college football.

Coming off a 50-30 win over LSU in the SEC Championship game, Georgia will now turn their focus to the 11-1 Buckeyes who had a strong season prior to losing to No. 2 Michigan in their regular season finale. 

Should Georgia get a win in the Peach Bowl, they will take on either the Wolverines or No. 3 TCU as they look to win back-to-back titles.

While winning another national championship would be special, so too are Georgia players taking the time to give back to those in need. The NIL era has changed the landscape of college athletics, but with Bennett, Bowers, Morris and Stark brightening the holidays for many kids this year, it is clear plenty of good can come out of it.