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Dawkins, Kerkvliet Sign WWE NIL Deals


WWE announced its third annual NIL class on Thursday afternoon, with two Penn Staters being a part of the group: heavyweight wrestler Greg Kerkvliet and offensive lineman Nick Dawkins.

The “Next In Line” 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”, according to the WWE. Although a future WWE contract isn’t necessarily a part of the deal, the athletes get access to the WWE’s Performance Center in Florida where they can train and perhaps one-day become a full-time WWE wrestler. But even if not, the NIL partnership allows the athletes to work with the WWE in a number of areas like brand building, community relations, live event promotions, and a host of other things.

It remains to be seen whether Kerkvliet and Dawkins will attempt to do professional wrestling as a career after college, but I would say that both have the makings that the WWE likes. Kerkvliet will hopefully end his collegiate wrestling career as one of the more dominant heavyweights, and with his 6-foot-3, 250-pound frame, he has the size and look to thrive in the professional wrestling world. Ditto for Nick Dawkins, who also has the added benefit of being the son of the late Darryl Dawkins, which could play a part in a potential gimmick.