Dalton Wagner, Hogs' 6-9 lineman, partners with WWE

Arkansas offensive lineman Dalton Wagner (78) blocks Texas linebacker Marcus Tillman (13) during a game Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — During an interview in October 2020, Arkansas offensive lineman Dalton Wagner said his position coach at the time, Brad Davis, told him he could make millions of dollars one day as a professional wrestler. 

“I want to use my soon-to-be master’s degree to work FBI or something like that,” Wagner said at the time. “If that don’t work out, I think I can get a shot at pro wrestling.” 

On Wednesday, the 6-9, 330-pound Wagner took a step toward getting that shot. 

Wagner is one of 15 college athletes who were signed by World Wrestling Entertainment to a Name, Image and Likeness program that provides a pathway to become professional wrestlers. 

According to WWE, the partnered athletes will have access to the company’s performance center in Orlando, Fla., as well as resources related to “brand building, media training, communications, live event promotion, creative writing and community relations.” 

Wagner is one of two SEC players who are part of the WWE’s NIL program, along with LSU defensive lineman Glen Logan. Three SEC track and field athletes are also part of the program, which includes athletes from 13 universities and four sports. 

Some athletes could earn a WWE contract at the completion of the program. 

Wagner, a fifth-year senior who has one season of eligibility remaining due to the NCAA’s covid-19 year, has announced he will return to Arkansas for the 2022 season. 

Wagner has been the Razorbacks’ starting right tackle since midway through the 2020 season. He missed three games after undergoing surgery on a finger in October, but returned for Arkansas’ game against Mississippi State on Nov. 6. 

He has started 27 games in his career. He signed with Arkansas out of Spring Grove, Ill., in February 2017 and has played for three coaching staffs. 

“Dalton’s a really cool guy,” Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said last month. “He told me he’s going to come back, and I asked him a week or two ago. He went through finger surgery and all those different things, and he just said, ‘Coach, I told you I was going to come back and that’s what I’m going to do.’”

Last year on his radio show, Pittman made a prediction about Wagner’s post-football future.

“He’ll be great in the WWE one of these days,” Pittman said.