WWE NIL Signee Masai Russell Named To Watch List For Prestigious Track And Field Award

WWE recruit Masai Russell is on the watchlist for an annual award honoring the NCAA's top track and field athlete, her school announced this week. The University of Kentucky announced in a press release that Russell, a graduate student on the Wildcats' track and field team, is one of 10 college athletes being considered for The Bowerman Award. The award takes into account both indoor and outdoor seasons, according to Kentucky, and the finalists will be named in December.

Russell has been up for the award four times throughout her decorated collegiate career. She's simultaneously made the SEC's honor roll since 2020, as well. The sprint and hurdles expert is on track to join WWE once her college career is done. Russell was one of 15 athletes named to the promotion's inaugural WWE "Next In Line" recruiting class, first announced in December 2021. WWE introduced its "NIL" recruiting strategy shortly after NCAA athletes were allowed to benefit from their "name, image, and likeness." So far, WWE has announced three NIL classes, but none of the 45 athletes who signed endorsement deals through the program have made their in-ring debuts for the company.

If she were to join WWE after college, Russell would bring a skillset that's already helped her collect plenty of accolades in the NCAA. The 11-time All American was the SEC Champion in 60-meter hurdles this past indoor season, and placed second in the country in the event two years in a row. Most recently, Russell broke the NCAA record for 100-meter hurdles.