STAMFORD, Conn., June 13, 2022 – WWE (NYSE: WWE) today unveiled 15 college athletes who will join the company’s NIL (Name, Image & Likeness) program – “Next In Line™” – that provides a clear pathway from collegiate athletics to WWE.
The second “Next In Line” class includes athletes from 14 universities, seven NCAA conferences and seven sports, including the program’s first athletes from cheer & dance, gymnastics, volleyball, men’s basketball and representation from an HBCU program.
The following 15 athletes will be unveiled later this evening at the inaugural NIL Summit at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta:
|Ali Mattox||Ole Miss||Cheer & Dance||5’ 7”||Little Rock, Ark.|
|Case Hatch||Arizona State||Football||6’ 1”, 230 lbs.||Gilbert, Ariz.|
|Chandler Hayden||Tennessee||Track & Field||5’ 11”||Pittsfield, Ill.|
|Cohlton Schultz||Arizona State||Wrestling||6’ 2”, 285 lbs.||Parker, Colo.|
|Derrian Gobourne||Auburn||Gymnastics||5’ 4”||Sarasota, Fla.|
|Ericka Link||Elon||Volleyball||5’ 6”||Hedgesville, W.Va.|
|Keshaun Moore||Hampton||Football||6’ 3”, 270 lbs.||Suffolk, Va.|
|Luke Ford||Illinois||Football||6’ 6”, 260 lbs.||Carterville, Ill.|
|Maliq Carr||Michigan State||Football/Basketball||6’ 5”, 245 lbs.||Inkster, Mich.|
|Mikala Hall||Central Michigan||Basketball||5’ 5”||Danville, Ill.|
|Rachel Glenn||South Carolina||Track & Field||6’ 0”||Long Beach, Calif.|
|Ruben Banks||Arkansas||Track & Field||6’ 4”, 270 lbs.||Binfield, England|
|Thunder Keck||Stanford||Football||6’ 3”, 245 lbs.||Northfield, N.H.|
|Tyanna Omazic||Miami||Volleyball||6’ 2”||Kansas City, Mo.|
|Zachary Knighton-Ward||Hofstra||Wrestling||6’ 2”, 285 lbs.||Rosedale, N.Y.|
WWE’s comprehensive NIL program launched in December and serves to recruit and develop potential future Superstars, and further enhances WWE’s talent development process through collaborative partnerships with college athletes from diverse athletic backgrounds. “Next In Line” has signed 31 full-time college athletes since its inception and currently has 25 active athletes following the graduation of six inaugural members from the program.
All athlete partnerships will feature access to the state-of-the-art WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Fla., in addition to resources across the organization including brand building, media training, communications, live event promotion, creative writing and community relations. Upon completion of the NIL program, select athletes may earn an exclusive opportunity to be offered a WWE contract. All six athletes who graduated from the first class have either signed or are in discussion to join WWE on a full-time basis.
Four of the 16 initial members of WWE’s “Next In Line” program are nominated for awards at the NIL Summit including Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson (University of Minnesota) for Male Athlete of the Year, Haley & Hanna Cavinder (University of Miami) for Female Athlete of the Year and Jon Seaton (Elon University) for the Hustle Award. Additionally, WWE is a finalist for Brand of the Year.
For more information about the inaugural NIL Summit, held June 13-15 at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, visit nilsummit.com. Learn more about the “Next In Line” program at wwerecruit.com.