Two Penn State athletes, wrestler Greg Kerkvliet and football player Nick Dawkins signed an NIL Deal with WWE.
WWE Dawk, Dawk is Next in Line. Thank you for the opportunity and I’m excited to join @WWE @WWERecruit#WWENIL #NextInLine https://t.co/1pDLil5prq
— Nick Dawkins (@TheNickDawkins) January 26, 2023
Kerkvliet and Dawkins will be part of the company’s Next in Line initiative, which helps the company find and develop future WWE superstars.
Kerkvliet and Dawkins’s involvement with Next in Line won’t impact their college eligibility.
Dawkins, a 6-foot-4, 315-pounder and the son of NBA legend Daryl “Chocolate Thunder” Dawkins, has been part of Penn State’s football program since the 2020 season. The Allentown native has played a reserve role on Penn State’s offensive line.
Kerkvliet is one of the best wrestlers in the country. He’s the second-ranked heavyweight and has a big match this Friday against Iowa’s Tony Cassioppi.
WWE has a history with former Big Ten wrestling stars. Minnesota’s Brock Lesnar became one of the most successful performers the company ever had, winning the WWE Championship 10 times. Almost two decades after Lesnar made his debut, another Gopher arrived in WWE. Gable Steveson, who, like Lesnar, was a national champion at Minnesota, made his debut last April at Wrestlemania 38.
Steveson has yet to make a big splash in the company, but the 22-year-old has time. The Steiner brothers, Scott and Rick, wrestled at Michigan and became tag team champions in the then-WWF and World Championship Wrestling.
Last month, WWE came to Penn State. The school was one of eight locations for its “Campus Rush” tour designed to recruit student-athletes.
Wrestlers Big E—former world champion and Iowa football player—and Omos were in attendance to tell Penn State students about the Next in Line program. WWE also made stops at Arkansas, Boise State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Ohio State and Ole Miss.
Kerkvliet and Penn State wrestling take on Iowa at 8:30 Friday night.