MILWAUKEE - The NCAA's ruling to allow student-athletes to make money off of their name, image and likeness is giving one Milwaukee kid a lot of ideas.
"I just want to be the best person I could be and to be the best man I could be in the future," said King senior Jerry Cross.
The power dynamic is shifting in college athletics and so is the money.
The Penn State tight-end recruit may not be suiting up for the Nittany Lions until 2022, but he is already trying to cash in.
"I've got a clothing line that I'm looking to continue to build," Cross said. "I've got, of course, my football career. I'm looking to build and potentially go to the NFL in three to four years. So I'm just really trying to be the best person and the best man I can be for my family, just for everybody in the city and just for the school. I just want to be the best person I can be overall."
That clothing line, Perseverance Apparel, was created in 2020 after Cross' season was canceled.
He posted to Twitter, encouraging companies to reach out to him if they want to do business.
"I'm still kind of new to the business," said Cross. "I'm only a year in and I'm just looking to continue to grow myself and grow my business as a whole. That's the reason why I put it out there, just to grow myself and just to get people to know that, 'Oh, this kid, he's still in high school, has a clothing line, and he's looking to do great things in the future.'"
In a recent visit to Happy Valley, he spoke with PSU Head Coach James Franklin, who gave his blessing with one caveat.
"I was just talking to my coach about it, Coach Franklin, and he just told me he's going to let us do it, but he's not going to let us have too much on our plate," Cross said. "Because, at the end of the day, we're student-athletes. We play football, we practice every day, we go to school every day, and we've got to do homework every day. So he doesn't want to have too much on our plate."
But Cross isn't putting the carriage before the horse.
He still has one more season with the Generals and has big plans for it.
"I'm looking forward to breaking the state record in yards this year, and the state record in touchdown this year," said Cross. "That's just something that I've got on my shoulders, just to be the best and finish strong. It's time for me to lead my guys and I'm just looking to have a good season, an undefeated season and just to be the best team we can be and for me to be the best player I can be. And just to leave a mark when I leave the city and go to college."
Having already sold his clothing to people all over the country, the King senior believes this is only the beginning for his business and his future.
"I just want to stay humble and just continue to keep my head down and work hard because I'm nowhere near done," Cross said. "I'm nowhere near getting started. So I just want to continue to motivate the youth, to to be myself and just continue to just build myself and be the best man I can be."