Fresno State’s Cavinder Twins and a couple of larger-than-life linemen are among the 15 athletes joining Gable Steveson in the WWE’s inaugural class of NIL athletes.
On Wednesday, the WWE signed 15 college athletes to name, image and likeness deals, rounding out its first-ever class of up-and-coming amateur talent. The sports entertainment promotion’s new program is designed to “recruit and develop potential future Superstars and further [enhance] the WWE’s talent development process,” per an official company release.
As part of the deals, all 15 athletes will have access to the WWE performance center in Orlando, Florida. They will also have access to resources to help with brand building, media training, live event promotion, creative writing, and community relations.
And when the athletes complete the NIL program, some may have the opportunity to earn a full WWE contract.
The athletes the WWE has signed come in all shapes and sizes and from all corners of the NCAA. There are Fresno State basketball’s Cavinder twins, Haley and Hanna, who both stand 5-foot-6, and Aleeya Hutchins, a 5-foot-5 Wake Forest track and field star. On the opposite end, there are giants like John Krahn, a 6-foot-10, 400 pound-offensive lineman at Portland State, and Dalton Wagner, a 6-foot-9, 330-pound lineman at Arkansas.
In the middle are basketball players, wrestlers, and track athletes of all stripes. Check out the full list here:
- Carlos Aviles (Ventura, California), a 6-foot-6, 305-pound track and field athlete at Ohio State
- Haley Cavinder (Gilbert, Arizona), a 5-foot-6 basketball player at Fresno State
- Hanna Cavinder (Gilbert, Arizona), a 5-foot-6 basketball player at Fresno State
- AJ Ferrari (Dallas, Texas), a 6-foot, 200-pound wrestler at Oklahoma State
- Lexi Gordon (Fort Worth, Texas), a 6-foot basketball player at Duke
- Aleeya Hutchins (Toronto, Ontario), a 5-foot-5 track and field athlete at Wake Forest
- John Krahn (Riverside, California), a 7-foot, 400-pound football player at Portland State
- Glen Logan (Kenner, Louisiana), a 6-foot-5, 305-pound football player at LSU
- Isaac Odugbesan (Lagos, Nigeria), a 6-foot-4, 275-pound football player at Alabama
- Mason Parris (Lawrenceburg, Indiana), a 6-foot-2, 275-pound wrestler at Michigan
- Masai Russel (Potomac, Maryland), a 5-foot-5 track & field athlete at Kentucky
- Jon Seaton (Hillsborough, New Jersey), a 6-foot-1, 285-pound football player at Elon
- Joe Spivak (Lombard, Illinois), a 6-foot, 300-pound football player at Northwestern
- Dalton Wagner (Spring Grove, Illinois), a 6-foot-9, 330-pound football player at Arkansas
- Riley White (Hoover, Alabama), a 5-foot-6 track & field athlete at Alabama
This move to sign 15 college athletes to NIL deals is the WWE’s second step in the NIL space. Its first came in September when the organization signed heavyweight freestyle wrestler and Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson to a multi-year deal. Steveson will graduate from college in May and upon graduating his contract with the WWE will begin.
“We all saw his physical ability prior to and at the Olympics,” Nick Khan, WWE’s president and chief revenue officer, told ESPN. “What we also saw was that Gable has as much charisma as he does ability. Marketability and ability are both of great importance to us.”