116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
“Something you could never do,” junior running back Goodson told him. Then he told him the same thing again. And again and again.
That “something” was appearing in a television commercial as a current college athlete. The reason Goodson — and Belton and Duncan — kept repeating themselves is because the people shooting the commercial for Carlos O’Kelly’s needed multiple takes, multiple inflections from the actors, and in Belton’s case, multiple times of dipping a tortilla chip in queso and raising it for the camera to see.
Within an hour, the shoot was a wrap as they say in show biz. The three filled out W-9 tax forms for the IRS, and were on their way. Duncan, the 2019 All-American, has a business teaching kicking and punting in the Des Moines area and is a voluntary special teams coach for Waukee High’s football team.
Goodson and junior safety/outside linebacker Belton, meanwhile, were in the final hours of summer freedom Thursday before their team began preseason camp, and a three-week stay in an area hotel.
“We had to get this done today,” said Dave Phillips, the marketing director for Thrive Restaurant Group, which has over 100 restaurants over 12 states, including the Carlos O’Kelly’s in Iowa City.
Thrive has done similar commercials with athletes at Wichita State, Kansas State and South Dakota State since July 1, when college athletes were allowed to enter into contracts to use their name, image and likeness rights without forfeiting their eligibility.
The Iowa commercial was initiated by John Digman, the general manager of the Carlos O’Kelly’s in Dubuque. A big Hawkeye fan, Digman was at the autograph signing (for money) done by Goodson, Belton and teammate Tyrone Tracy at Graze in Iowa City last month and suggested to Goodson that he consider a commercial with his company.
“The opportunity to work with these guys is kind of a no-brainer,” Digman said. “I kind of got ahead of myself. I ran it by Tyler, then I pitched it to corporate.”
If Iowa’s coaches have or had misgivings about their players getting sidetracked by NIL opportunities, they may want to consider the following:
“I’m trying to get this stuff out of the way before the season starts,” Belton said.
“I’m ready to get back to camp, ready to get back to work with my teammates, ready to get back on the field and play on Saturdays,” said Goodson.
Also, the two players stepped into an unfamiliar situation Thursday and — forgive the expression — took the ball and ran with it. They absorbed the instruction they got from the people making the commercial, didn’t need to be told anything twice, and produced.
“We’re used to coaching,” Goodson said later with a laugh. “That’s the easy part for us.”
The commercial will begin airing next week during the time local stations get for ads during telecasts of NFL preseason games.
It begins with Duncan walking into a Carlos O’Kelly’s where Belton and Goodson are dining and also appearing in a commercial.
“While you’re still in school?” Duncan says in shock.
Belton and Goodson start to argue about which is the top influencer on campus.
Belton says he can melt a fan’s heart like a bowl of queso. Goodson’s comeback is he and touchdowns are as great a combo as chips and salsa. It’s a commercial, folks. Dialogue isn’t as deep as, say, a football playbook.
Duncan gets — again, pardon the expression — the kicker.
Let’s just say his last line may involve a mention of Nebraska, and he may have wagged a finger and blown a kiss to the camera like he did to Husker fans after his tiebreaking 48-yard field goal with one second left in Iowa’s 2019 win over in Lincoln.
“It’s awesome they can do this,” Duncan said off-camera, about Belton and Goodson.
It could have been noted to Duncan that he could have cashed in really big around here in 2019, but it’s better to have an appetite for chips and queso than to eat your heart out.
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