Arizona’s early enrollees, transfers sign NIL deals with Friends of Wilbur & Wilma

Collectives across the country continue to showcase that if you pick their school, NIL opportunities will soon follow.

Earlier this week, Ohio State-focused collective The Foundation held a signing event with five of the Buckeye’s early signees. The event looked like a press conference with star recruits Carnell Tate, Jermaine Mathews, Jelani Thurman, Noah Rogers and Malik Hartford posing for pictures and doing interviews.

But out West, Friends of Wilbur & Wilma also had a signing event by officially inking 16 of Arizona’s 2023 recruiting class and transfers to NIL deals.

As part of the agreement with Friends of Wilbur & Wilma, the players each received a cash stipend and a new laptop. The cash stipend is part of the players’ agreement and will be paid out monthly throughout the terms of the contract with the collective.

Players that were officially tagged in the collective’s social media post include:

  • Quarterback Brayden Dorman
  • Receiver Jackson Holman
  • Defensive linemen Bill Norton and Tyler Manoa
  • Defensive back Genesis Smith, Canyon Moses, Arian Parish
  • Linebacker Kamuela Kaaihue
  • Athlete Gavin Hunter

“As part of their onboarding into the collective and their welcome to Tucson, they get a cash stipend for move-in,” Friends of Wilbur & Wilma General Manager Joey Medina told On3. “They also get a brand-new laptop for business communication purposes. It’s super, super exciting to get these 16 onboarded. We have seven more that will be here in early summer and that’ll complete our recruiting class of 2023.

“It’s an exciting time for these guys and for us. By working with them right when they get to campus, they can begin to make an impact in the Tucson community.”

Arizona signees get to work through NIL deal

Medina is right.

Friends of Wilbur & Wilma was one of the earliest collectives in the Pac-12 Conference, launching in February 2022. It’s been highly active throughout the Wildcat community and has created some tremendous NIL opportunities for student-athletes it partners with.

One of those opportunities is with Torre Chisholm, the Executive Director of the Friends of Pima Animal Care Center. Within minutes of signing partnerships with the collective, players started promoting the 2023 Pets of Pima Parade. The parade is a massive fundraiser event for the animal care center.

“Torre introduced his non-profit and helped the guys learn what it was about,” Medina said. “Then we put together a social post and guys have started to put out the posts to promote their annual parade they have coming up.

“It’s a win-win situation for the student-athlete and also for the local business.”

While the collective has seen the most success with football student-athletes, The Friends of Wilbur and Wilma supports creating and developing NIL business opportunities for all student-athletes of Arizona’s 21 athletic programs. Unlike many other collectives, deals are also struck with walk-ons.

“Our scholarship players get a little more,” Medina said. “But walk-ons get something from us every single month for being a valuable asset to the community.”

Friends of Wilbur and Wilma has big backers

Founded by loyal Wildcat supporters Cole Davis and Humberto Lopez, Friends of Wilbur and Wilma utilizes Blueprint Sports technology to learn more about supporting Arizona student-athletes NIL opportunities and connect with them.

Furthermore, the collective also has the support of the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education.

“I’m a big believer in empowering our next wave of athletes,” Agassi, the eight-time grand slame tennis champion, previously said in a press release. “It’s incredible to see and support this technology. And I know that the University of Arizona student-athletes will benefit greatly from this support.”

Nate Brown

General Manager

Nate Brown is the General Manager of Zags Collective, leading the charge to help amplify the opportunities for the Gonzaga student-athletes through NIL partnerships with local charities, fans and businesses. With over a decade of experience in the professional sports industry and as a former business owner in Spokane, Nate is a seasoned professional who knows what it takes to succeed. Most recently, he served as the National Sales Director for a prominent west-coast real estate company, where he was responsible for driving growth and retention. With a deep understanding of sales and marketing, Nate brings a wealth of knowledge to the table and is always seeking innovative ways to drive revenue and create partnerships.With a passion for ensuring the success of student-athletes both on and off the field, Nate is dedicated to providing the necessary resources to keep Gonzaga competitive on the national stage. He understands the importance of building and maintaining strong relationships with the community and local businesses, and works to maximize opportunities for Gonzaga’s student-athletes. As the son of two Gonzaga alumni, including a father who was a baseball pitcher and also a coach for the school, Nate has a great connection to the university and a passion for ensuring its continued success. Outside of work, Nate enjoys spending time with family, including his wife Jessica and their 16-year-old daughter Brooklynn and 12-year-old son Marcus. When not working or spending time with family, you can find Nate at any one of the amazing golf courses in Spokane, honing his swing!

Mike Smith

General Manager

Mike Smith joined Micconope 1851 in March 2023 and is excited to be the General Manager and looks forward to working with Blueprint Sports increase NIL revenue generation for Florida State University student-athletes. Smith comes to Micconope 1851 from Catawba College where he held the title as the Senior Director of Athletics, Development. Prior to working in Athletics at Catawba College, Mike served as the Associate Athletics Director for External Relations at Charleston Southern University. Smith has an impressive background in the collegiate athletics industry, having held senior level development and corporate sponsorship sales roles at The University of Southern Mississippi, Limestone University, the Sun Belt Conference, Florida Atlantic University, and with multimedia rights-holders Tele South Communications at the University of Mississippi, Learfield Sports at UNC Chapel Hill, and with International Sports Properties at Georgia Tech. Smith is a graduate of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, and holds a master’s degree in Business Management from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In his new role here at Micconppe 1851, Smith will be responsible for raising major gifts for NIL deals as well as securing NIL corporate sponsorships for Florida State University student-athletes. Mike looks forward to helping ensure the FSU student-athletes have the resources and leadership opportunities to remain competitive nationally and positioned for success well beyond graduation. Mike is married to Katy Smith; the couple looks forward to relocating to Tallahassee, Florida, and becoming a part of the Micconope 1851 and Seminole family!

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