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WWE signs third class of college athletes to NIL program

WWE’s “Next in Line” program for college athletes was introduced in December 2021. The first class of signings was announced shortly thereafter, with the second class revealed in June 2022.

As you already know from the headline, the third class was announced today. Here is WWE’s press release with the key information:

WWE today revealed the third class of 15 college athletes who will join the company’s award-winning NIL (Name, Image & Likeness) program – “Next In Line™” – that provides a clear pathway from collegiate athletics to WWE.

The class is highlighted by two-time NCAA All American wrestler Greg Kerkvliet from Penn State University, four-time NCAA National Champion thrower Turner Washington from Arizona State University and NCAA Champion hurdler Alia Armstrong from Louisiana State University.

The third “Next In Line” class includes athletes from 14 universities, nine NCAA conferences and seven different sports. The program welcomes its first athletes from women’s wrestling, soccer, tennis, and softball.

The “Next In Line” program has signed 46 college athletes since its inception in December 2021 including the program’s first signee, Olympic Gold medalist Gable Steveson. The program 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. WWE has signed athletes from 13 different sports including 35 members of Power-Five conferences who have collectively earned 40 NCAA All American Honors and 12 NCAA National Championships.

All athlete partnerships 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.

The program’s athletes boast impressive social media followings with more than 10 million combined followers on TikTok and nearly three million combined followers on Instagram. WWE currently has one of the largest fanbases on TikTok with 20.9 million followers and more than 27 million Instagram followers.

Here is a table with the basic information that WWE provided about the 15 new NIL signings:

WWE’s third class of NIL signings (Jan. 2023)

Name College Sport Height / Weight Hometown
Name College Sport Height / Weight Hometown
Abby Jacobs South Alabama Soccer 5'7 Gulf Breeze, Fla.
Alexandra Jaksec Mary Washington Tennis 5'4 Pittsburgh, Pa.
Alia Armstrong LSU Track & Field 5'4 Baton Rouge, La.
Cameron Jones Cincinnati Football 6'8, 320 lbs. Hindman, Ky.
Dee Beckwith Kentucky Football 6'5, 235 lbs. Florence, Ala.
Greg Kerkvliet Penn State Wrestling 6'3, 250 lbs. Inver Grove Heights, Minn.
Isaiah Iton Rutgers Football 6'2, 290 lbs. Houston, Texas
Jaiden Fields Georgia Softball 5'9 Kennesaw, Ga.
Landon Jackson Arkansas Football 6'7, 275 lbs. Texarkana, Texas
Mady Aulbach Youngstown State Basketball 5'3 Slippery Rock, Pa.
Nick Dawkins Penn State Football 6'4, 315 lbs. Allentown, Pa.
Otoniel Badjana Pittsburgh Track & Field 5'11, 245 lbs. Lisbon, Portugal
Peyton Prussin Life University Wrestling 5'4 Las Vegas, Nev.
Tori Ortiz Oklahoma State Track & Field 5'9 Batavia, Ill.
Turner Washington Arizona State Track & Field 6'5, 290 lbs. Tuscon, Ariz.

The press release specifically highlights Greg Kerkvliet, Turner Washington, and Alia Armstrong, so those are the college athletes from this group that WWE appears to have the highest hopes for.

The following video was also posted by WWE, individually hyping up all 15 signings:

After watching the video, do any of the 15 new NIL signings stand out to you? Let us know in the comments below, Cagesiders.

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