Rich Eisen.

The NCAA name, image and likeness changes have led to lots of interesting opportunities for college football players, from Fansville through sponsored walk-ons through TexAgs sponsoring exclusive interviews. The latest unusual one was what The Rich Eisen Show (available on Peacock, Sirius XM, and Audacy) announced Monday; a partnership with Gorilla Glue to spotlight “The Toughest Player On Planet Earth” each week.

Here’s more on that from a release:

In a groundbreaking deal, The Rich Eisen Show is partnering with The Gorilla Glue Company to get involved in Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) to celebrate college football’s “Toughest Player on Planet Earth.” In an announcement made today on The Rich Eisen Show, the new relationship will kick off in week 1 of the college football season and will see Eisen recognize one player from across the college football landscape who was the workhorse hero that helped keep their team together.

Each Tuesday throughout the regular season, Eisen will reveal that week’s “Toughest Player on Planet Earth.” The winner will receive an NIL partnership and $1,000 cash compensation courtesy of The Gorilla Glue Company, as well as an invitation to be a guest on Eisen’s Emmy-nominated daily talk show which streams live Monday – Friday from noon-3PM ET on Peacock TV.

…“While NIL is new for college sports, this is the first deal of its kind,” said Eisen. “I have long used my platform to highlight that punters are people too, but so are linemen and so are linebackers. Gorilla Glue shared our vision and is the perfect partner to ensure that college football’s unsung heroes get the same treatment as star players by walking away with money (and recognition) for what they bring to their team.”

Aaron Fromm, Sr. Marketing Director, Gorilla Glue, said “We’re so excited to partner with the Rich Eisen Show team on this weekly award and we couldn’t be more proud to showcase the lesser known, unsung heroes of College Football who exemplify toughness, tenacity, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to help their teams succeed.

There are a few interesting things here. First, it’s definitely notable to see a focus on positions that don’t always receive as much of the limelight, especially as many of the NIL deals so far have been with star quarterbacks and other offensive skill players. Beyond that, it’s smart that the award here is not contingent on the player showing up on Eisen’s show; most probably will do that anyway, but putting that as “an invitation” rather than what the deal is for means there likely won’t be the debates around paying for interviews here that showed up around the TexAgs deal. (And it’s worth keeping in mind that many players probably would be up for guesting on a national show anyway, even if no money was attached.)

It’s also interesting to see a media outlet and an advertiser signing a sponsorship deal together. And that makes some sense for both sides. Gorilla Glue is putting up the money, while Eisen’s providing them built-in national media exposure for this deal each week. The player selected each week will probably get some coverage beyond Eisen’s show, especially from local outlets, but this is a way to make this partnership stand out much more than if it had just been “Gorilla Glue picks a player each week.” We’ll see how this goes, and if other media outlets wind up doing anything similar, but it’s certainly an approach worth following.

[Deadline; The Rich Eisen Show on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.