On The Dotted Line (Part Two)

Miss Part One? Read up by clicking the link here...

During the initial publication of this article, we incorrectly stated that Tyler Day will be graduating. However, he still has indoor and outdoor eligibility. It is expected that he will return for the 2020 track seasons. Our apologies on the error.

Grant Fisher has already announced that he is signing with Nike and joining Bowerman TC. But where will the rest of the NCAA's top graduating talents go? We gave some our thoughts and predictions below...

Obsa Ali (Minnesota)

The Minnesota steeplechase star has finished his collegiate eligibility, but he won't be ending his competitive running career after signing with Total Sports for representation earlier this week.

It's difficult to say for sure just where Obsa Ali will end up. When you evaluate all of the options, one interesting - yet very appropriate - fit would be Nike Bowerman Track Club. Jerry Schumacher has been known for his elite development of steeplechasers such as Evan Jager, Matt Hughes, and (previously) Andy Bayer. With the steeplechasers on the team growing older, it wouldn't be a bad idea for BTC to add some youth to their steeplechase squad.

Outside of Bowerman Track Club, there aren't too many groups who harbor a handful of top steeplechasers. The United States WCAP program has been known for their phenomenal development of steeplechase talents, but that is typically a route that foreign athletes take in order to expedite their American citizenship application (Ali is already a US citizen).

Morgan McDonald (Wisconsin)

One of the biggest topics of conversation in the running community this summer will be who Morgan McDonald decides to sign with. In theory, Nike should be able to easily sign the Aussie superstar who made a name for himself this past year after securing four national titles in three seasons. Of course, McDonald is plenty accomplished outside of the NCAA with personal bests of 7:42 and 13:15.

With an extremely impressive resume at nearly every racing discipline, McDonald will likely be able to dictate a very favorable contract. Not only that, but he is likely a strong candidate to make the 2020 Australian Olympic Team next summer. The potential exposure McDonald could give to a brand in such a crucial year makes him an extremely valuable commodity for shoe companies.

Nike signing the former Wisconsin Badger wouldn't be surprising.

However, the real uncertainty will be in regards to which training group he will choose.

Much like we suggested with Jessica Hull, we could potentially see McDonald make his way back to Australia to train with Melbourne Track Club. In doing so, McDonald would team up with an arsenal of superstar Aussies such as Stuart McSweyn, Ryan Gregson, Matthew Ramsden, Brett Robinson, Jordy Williamsz, Jack Rayner, and Pat Tiernan. On paper, that is one of the most elite training groups that a single country can offer right now.

Oh, and they are all sponsored by Nike.

However, if Melbourne Track Club doesn't work out, McDonald could join Bowerman Track Club. Jerry Schumacher has often recruited Stanford athletes, but he has also been willing to bring in high-level Wisconsin stars. Current and former BTC Badgers include Chris Solinsky, Mohammed Ahmed, Evan Jager, Matt Tegenkamp, Tim Nelson, and Simon Bairu.

Given Schumacher's history with Wisconsin, it wouldn't be too surprising to have McDonald join the group. Of course, the real irony in this signing would be the fact that Fisher and McDonald would go from being rivals to teammates.

Who knows? Crazier things have happened...

Joe White (Georgetown)

There aren't many 800 meter standouts turning pro from this year's graduating class, but that should likely benefit 4x All-American Joe White who will be one of the better middle distance runners available for a contract this summer.

Nike seems like a great potential candidate to put a deal in front of White in the coming months. If they do, White will have numerous training groups to choose from such as Oregon Track Club or Nike Oregon Project.

Of course, moving life over to the west coast isn't exactly easy. Luckily, White could have another (potentially better) option should he choose to stay close to home.

That option? Training with Isaiah Harris at Penn State.

Harris, who signed a contract with Nike last summer, has continued his training at State College while finishing up his degree. Harris and White are good friends and White has a number of connections to the Penn State team. It would make perfect sense to see White travel up north from DC to the middle of Pennsylvania in order to continue his training around a group that he is very familiar with.

Another potential sponsor could be Hoka One One, a group that hasn't been afraid to develop a middle distance presence on the east coast. Last year, Hoka signed USC standout Rob Ford to a contract and he is now training under Coach Gagliano at the NJNY Track Club.

White, a New Jersey native, would be a great fit for NJNYTC as they look to inject some youth into a roster where a handful of their established stars are slowly beginning to reach the latter portions of their careers.

Other Potential Signings

Rory Linkletter (BYU)

Predicted Sponsor: Saucony

Predicted Training Group/Coach: Ed Eyestone

Other Options: Hoka One One/Ed Eyestone, Brooks/Hansons-Brooks Project

James West (Oregon)

Predicted Sponsor: Nike

Predicted Training Group/Coach: Oregon Track Club

Other Options: New Balance UK

Clayton Young (BYU)

Predicted Sponsor: Saucony

Predicted Training Group/Coach: Ed Eyestone

Other Options: Hoka One One/Ed Eyestone, Brooks/Hansons-Brooks Project

Aaron Templeton (Furman)

Predicted Sponsor: Asics

Predicted Training Group/Coach: Furman Elite

Other Options: Adidas/Tinman Elite, Adidas/BAA