Johnny Petrishen is tackling opponents on the field while tackling real-world issues off of it this season. Petrishen, a redshirt senior linebacker at the University of Pittsburgh, is third on the team with 22 tackles, including two sacks, and is fresh off of an ACC Linebacker of the Week award after the team’s 52-21 win over Georgia Tech where he tallied five total tackles, 1.5 for a loss, and recorded a 33-yard pick-six. 

Pittsburgh currently sits at 4-1 overall (1-0 in ACC) and is in first place in the coastal division of the Atlantic Coast Conference. But even with all the success on the field, what Petrishen is doing off the field is just as impressive.

On July 1, 2021, it became legal for all college athletes to begin to use their Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) to profit. Given the fact that many college athletes oftentimes are strapped for extra cash, this new ruling was game-changing because it allows student-athletes to make money off of their personal brands for the first time. Many athletes are making real money by partnering with CampusMogul. (Click here to apply)

But Johnny did not see the new NIL opportunity the same way that others did. 

Click on the photo to get your Johnny Football hoodie!


“It didn’t really sit right with me to sell apparel of myself to my friends and my family and have that money come back to myself,” Petrishen said. “Because these people have been supporting me for a long time now.”

---- Shop Johnny Petrishen's collection here! --- 

Instead, Petrishen decided to launch the “Tackling For a Knead” campaign, where he will partner with The Knead Community Cafe in his hometown of New Kensington, Pennsylvania, and will donate the cost of a meal for every tackle that he records this season. The Knead Community Cafe is staffed with volunteers who provide meals to those who cannot afford them through either a “pay it forward” plan where those who are able to, can pay extra money for their meals so that others can eat for free or for a reduced price, or a “pay-what-you-can” plan, in which guests people pay what they can to be able to eat.

The cost of each meal at the restaurant is $10, so for every tackle that Petrishen records, $10 will be donated towards helping someone in need get a free meal.

Petrishen is partnering with Campus Mogul, a company that specializes in helping college athletes profit off of their NIL by manufacturing custom-made apparel and distributing it to people who choose to support the athletes. 

“Campus Mogul does all the hard work and the leg work with the making of the shirt, the shipping, the design, and everything and I promote it, and the restaurant benefits and it also gives my family and friends a way to support me,” Petrishen said. “It’s a win, win for everybody,” 

Given that the star linebacker is in the middle of his final season, he also did not want to engage in any activities that would take his attention away from his job on the field. 

“I didn’t want to do anything that would take my focus away from football, and campus mogul does it perfectly where we don’t have to worry about that,” Petrishen said. 

But why not pick something that would put money in your pocket? Isn’t that the whole point of the new NIL rules? 

---- Shop Johnny Petrishen's collection here! --- 

“I wanted to think of a way to use my platform and this opportunity to give back,” he responded.  “Although I won’t be making any money, I'm happy that it’s going to a really good cause that I care about.”

In the end, all Petrishen cares about is trying to positively affect other people’s lives, while hopefully inspiring a few others to pay it forward along the way.

“I think positivity is contagious,” he said. “In this world, we got so much crazy stuff going on and it makes life a little bit better when we help each other out.”

-- Aaron Robinson

October 11, 2021 — Campus Mogul Staff