Former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant and former Baylor basketball defensive standout Mark Vital are among a group of current and former college athletes who will try out with WWE this week, leading up to WrestleMania in Los Angeles.
WWE will put 26 women and 24 men through a series of performance and promotion evaluations, and assess whether to offer any contracts at the end of the week. The promotion has increased its recruiting of college athletes in recent years, both with tryouts ahead of major events and through its "Next In Line" name, image and likeness program. This week's tryout participants represent 37 schools and 13 sports, with football (13) representing the largest contingent for the men and track and field (9) the biggest group for the women. Other sports represented include wrestling (6 male), basketball (4 female, 2 male), powerlifting (3 female) and cheer (1 female, 1 male).
Bryant helped Clemson to the 2017 ACC championship and a College Football Playoff appearance before transferring to Missouri the following year. He was not drafted in the NFL but played briefly in the CFL. Vital, a two-time Naismith Defensive Player of the Year finalist, helped Baylor to a national championship in 2021. The 25-year-old played in the NBA summer league with the Portland Trail Blazers before transitioning to football, where he played tight end on the Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs practice squads in 2021 and 2022.
The football contingent trying out includes ex-Oklahoma linebacker Caleb Kelly, an ESPN top-70 national recruit who started portions of three seasons before being limited by knee injuries late in his career. Former Oregon State linebacker Kyrei Fisher-Morris, former Utah offensive lineman Bamidele Olaseni and former Kansas and Ohio State offensive lineman Kevin Feder are also set to try out.
Former Baylor track standout Morgan Stewart, who won the Big 12 indoor championship for 600 yards in 2018, is among the notable female athletes set to try out. Others include All-Mountain West track honorees Breanna Covington (Fresno State) and Kasey Ebb (San Diego State).
Other notables include Reggie Jagers, a 2020 Olympian in discus who attended Kent State, and Darrell Mason, a Division II national champion wrestler at Minnesota State.
WrestleMania 39 takes place Saturday and Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.