DePaul All-American Aneesah Morrow is believed to be the first to make a transfer announcement via an NIL deal.
Coach Kim Mulkey and her LSU Tigers continued their run through the transfer portal with another major commitment on Friday. DePaul All-American Aneesah Morrow, who averaged over 25 points and 12 rebounds per game last season, announced that she will join Hailey Van Lith, Angel Reese, and Flau’jae Johnson in Baton Rouge as LSU chases a second straight national championship.
Many suspected Morrow would end up in an LSU jersey next season, so what made this commitment interesting wasn’t the decision itself, but how Morrow announced it. She told the world she’d be a Tiger via an NIL partnership with Caktus AI.
This is believed to be the first transfer announcement made via branded content. In Morrow’s social media post, she used Caktus AI technology to help her decide between LSU and finalists South Carolina and USC.
“The partnership with Caktus AI made perfect sense,” Morrow told Boardroom. “It allowed me to take a different approach to displaying which university I would commit to, while using the NIL opportunity as a start to maximizing my value as an athlete.”
The video shows her working out at her high school, Simeon Career Academy in Chicago, and going back and forth asking questions to the app. Morrow’s final inquiry is “I want to win championships and build a dynasty. Where is the best place for me to achieve my goals?”
Caktus AI’s response: “The answer is clear, you belong in Baton Rouge, go be great!”
Beyond this feedback, Morrow looked at all LSU has to offer, and not just on the hardwood.
“I decided to attend LSU due to its outstanding academic programs and successful sports teams,” Morrow said. “LSU is renowned for offering top-notch educational resources and has gained national recognition through their numerous championship wins in various sports. The excellent academic programs, competitive sports events, emphasis on personal branding, and supportive family and community atmosphere for student-athletes were the main factors that led me to easily choose LSU.”
The partnership with Caktus AI — coordinated by Morrow’s team at Voltage Management — has the potential to set the bar for how athletes use NIL to make future transfer announcements.
“Working with Aneesah, I wanted to make sure we made a splash and approach the portal process unlike anyone else,” her agent, Kailey Edwards of Voltage, said. “I wanted to make sure we used NIL in her favor for her commitment — we got connected to Caktus AI and knew right away it was a perfect fit. They wanted to be just as innovative and disruptive as us and truly believed in the moment we were trying to create for her. Aneesah is a one of a kind player and I wanted her whole transfer portal process and specifically, her final announcement to be just as big of a headline — something no one has ever done in the new era of the portal.”
Fellow Tigers Reese and gymnast Olivia Dunne are also Caktus AI partners. The brand faced some backlash after Dunne posted about her partnership, with LSU ultimately releasing a statement regarding proper use of artificial intelligence tools in education.
“This is another significant milestone for Generative AI and its role in education,” Harrison Leonard, Co-Founder of Caktus AI told Boardroom. “We are honored to partner with elite female college athletes excelling in sports and academics. LSU and its athletes exemplify innovation. Aneesah will be a fantastic addition to this larger movement.”
The Tigers should start the season as preseason No. 1 and in the most recent FanDuel odds, LSU is the favorite (+280) to repeat as national champions, with UConn (+660) next in line, followed by Indiana, Iowa, Utah and Virginia Tech (all +750).
More NIL Deals:
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Athletes.org is starting men’s and women’s basketball ACC chapters, with RJ Davis, Armando Bacot, and Deja Kelly leading the way….