He has just seven games as a collegiate starting quarterback under his belt, and now a personal logo. Wisconsin's Graham Mertz kicked off NIL launch week by introducing his own trademark — an angular "G" intertwined with an "M" for a look that Twitter users quickly pointed out closely resembles the established logos of video game developer Guerrilla and the Nintendo GameCube.
Does Mertz have game worthy of such an individualistic image? He looked brilliant in his first two starts — blowout wins over Illinois and Michigan — but then came back to earth, ultimately leading the Badgers to a 3-3 record in the pandemic-shortened Big Ten Conference season and a victory in the Duke's Mayo Bowl. He completed 61.1 percent of his passes for 1,238 yards, with nine touchdowns and five interceptions.
Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz is becoming the first college athlete to announce his trademark ahead of the new NIL laws on July 1.— Bleacher Report CFB June 28, 2021
The NIL policy allows players to make money off their own likenesses
Other Twitter reaction included fans of Big Ten rival Nebraska pointing out that Mertz is not the first to attempt to capitalize in such a manner, as Bleacher Report had tweeted — with at least five Huskers already trademarked. It got more stinging from there. One Twitter user replied to the Mertz news with, "Dude gonna make $23," while several others simply asked, "Who?"
How teammates react to this bold step by their redshirt sophomore quarterback is yet unclear, but Mertz appeared focused on his footwork on the field when interviewed by 247sports.com at an elite QB camp in California earlier this month.
“Obviously, at the position of quarterback, there is always stuff to grow on,” Mertz said. “For me, the biggest thing was just anticipation and location and matching up my footwork. When you can truly match up your footwork with your eyes and play with great timing and anticipation, there’s nothing prettier than watching football played like that. For me, that was the biggest thing. It was great to come out of spring playing with great timing, location, space, and all that stuff.”