The NCAA and the WWE have formed a partnership and Luke Ford from the University of Illinois has a chance to keep using his football skills as a career after college.

WCIA - The Illinois senior tight end is one of the 15 college athletes announced to the pro wrestling's "Next in Line" class on Monday.

Every athlete who signed will have access to WWE's state of the art performance center in Orlando, Florida, along with brand building opportunities, media training, communications, live event promotion, creative writing and more.

This is the second year of the Next in Line program. They also selected 15 college athletes at the beginning of last year, 6 of those 15 have either already signed with the WWE to continue their careers or are in talks to do so.

Ford saw his role with the Illini grow during his junior year last season, catching 15 passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns. His importance to the program will only grow his senior year in Champaign.

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Ford is obviously athletic. Showing off his cross-sport skills in this Tweet he sent out during the basketball season when the men's basketball team was losing players to COVID.

He's also just decent in front of a camera.

He should shine in the ring.

Ford joins 14 other NCAA athletes in the program, including:

  • Ali Mattox - Ole Miss - Cheer & Dance
  • Case Hatch - Arizona State - Football
  • Chandler Hayden - Tennessee (originally from Pittsfield, IL) - Track & Field
  • Cohlton Schultz - Arizona State - Wrestling
  • Derrian Gobourne - Auburn - Gymnastics
  • Ericka Link - Elon - Volleyball
  • Keshaun Moore - Hampton - Football
  • Maliq Carr - Michigan State - Football and Basketball
  • Mikala Hall - Central Michigan (originally from Danville, IL) - Basketball
  • Rachel Glenn - South Carolina - Track & Field
  • Ruben Banks - Arkansas - Track & Field
  • Thunder Keck - Stanford - Football
  • Tyanna Omazic - Miami - Vollyball
  • Zachary Kington-Ward - Hofstra - Wrestling

Good luck to all on their future endeavors.

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