WWE Performance Center hosts collegiate athletes at exclusive tryout

WWE Performance Center hosts collegiate athletes at exclusive tryout

While WWE’s Performance Center in the United Kingdom is holding a tryout for top female prospects this week, things are no less busy at the WWE PC in Orlando, where six collegiate athletes are getting an up-close look at life inside the ring as part of an exclusive tryout opportunity.

The group includes five wrestlers and a 7-foot-tall basketball player who is returning for his second visit to the Performance Center.

The athletes are working out under the supervision of WWE PC Head Coach Matt Bloom and coaches Norman Smiley, Robbie Brookside and Hartley Jackson, with NXT Superstars Daniel Vidot and Denzel Dejournette lending a hand with the in-ring drills.

Also on hand to observe is WWE Hall of Famer Gerald Brisco, who was a star wrestler for Oklahoma State University before turning pro. Brisco remains a pivotal link between WWE and the amateur wrestling community and is responsible for recruiting many Superstars who first made their mark in the collegiate ranks.

The tryout camp includes the following:

  • Coatesville, Pa.’s Michael Boykin, a 285-pounder who grappled at North Carolina State University. A World Team Trials qualifier and two-time NCAA Division I tournament qualifier, Boykin competed at 197 pounds for his first two years at NC State before moving to heavyweight. 
  • Fulton, Md.’s Cory Gilliland-Daniel, a heavyweight starter from the University of North Carolina who also twice qualified for the NCAA national tournament. Gilliland-Daniel notched a 23-9 record in 2017-18 and went undefeated in ACC competition.
  • Two-time NAIA All-American Jesse Gomez, from Fullerton, Calif. The 23-year-old Gomez most recently wrestled as a heavyweight for Missouri Valley College. In February, he was named to the Heart of America Athletic Conference all-conference second team.
  • 26-year-old Seville Hayes, who won the 2015 California Community College state championship at Palomar College before joining California Polytechnic University in 2017. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Californian also served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2011 to 2015.
  • Derek Hillman, a 6-foot-2, 220-pounder from Woodhaven, Mich. Hillman went to the finals of the 2018 Mid-American Conference championships, representing Eastern Michigan University in the 197-pound weight class. He took fifth place in this year’s MAC championships, wrestling for Ohio University.
  • Basketball player Zech Smith, of McLoud, Okla. The 7-foot, 310-pounder played center for the Morgan State Bears before turning pro in international competition. He is currently listed as a member of the Washington Generals, the longstanding rivals of the Harlem Globetrotters.

For more details on WWE’s talent recruitment efforts, including how to apply for a tryout, visit WWEPerformanceCenter.com.

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