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NEWS: Anass Essayi (Adidas) & Drew Griffith (New Balance) Sign NIL Deals

Earlier today, South Carolina distance star, Anass Essayi, announced that he has signed a "Name, Image and Likeness" (NIL) deal with Adidas. And on Tuesday, 2023 Foot Locker XC National Champion and Notre Dame recruit, Drew Griffith, announced (in conjunction with Citius Mag) that he has signed an NIL deal with New Balance.

Essayi now joins Michaela Rose as current collegiate middle and long distance stars who recently signed NIL deals with Adidas. In December, the Three Stripe brand also signed former NCAA stars to pro contracts such as Katelyn Tuohy and Eliud Kipsang.

Griffith, meanwhile, becomes the latest distance running standout to sign an NIL deal with New Balance. The Boston-based performance apparel company recently signed Harvard megastar, Graham Blanks, to an NIL deal in late December.

Griffith and Blanks will now be paired with current prep track stars such as Sadie Engelhardt, Quincy Wilson, Daniel Simmons and Ali Ince, along with Georgetown rookie Tinoda Matsatsa and 2023 indoor national champion, Roisin Willis, on New Balance's roster of NIL signees.

When it comes to Anass Essayi, the Gamecock standout's decision to sign an NIL deal is a fairly significant development.

With jaw-dropping personal bests of 1:47 (800), 3:32 (1500), 3:50 (mile) and 7:41 (3k), the idea that this Morocco native would turn pro at some point during this academic year wasn't necessarily a stretch, especially with a recent coaching overhaul taking place at South Carolina this past summer.

But by signing an NIL deal with Adidas, the likelihood of Essayi remaining in the NCAA, at least for this current academic year, has seemingly risen. The South Carolina runner will be viewed as a national title contender this winter in the mile and the 3k as well as a national title contender over 1500 meters come the spring months.


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