As the CEO of Atlanta-based ground cover company Metro Straw, Tennessee Volunteers receiver Grant Frerking knows a thing or two about the business world.
The 6-foot-5 wideout is now shifting his focus to the name, image, and likeness sector of college athletics, spearheading a new NIL initiative by Nashville-based On3 Sports, founded by Rivals.com and 247Sports creator Shannon Terry.
Frerking was announced on Wednesday as the president of On3’s NIL University, which has been created to “provide a playbook for NCAA student-athletes to safely and successfully navigate the new frontier of Name, Image and Likeness,” according to a press release.
In his primary role as president, Frerking will be tasked with helping current and upcoming college athletes to navigate the wild-west type world that is personal branding in college athletics.
“NIL U is built entirely for the student-athlete,” Terry said. “It is our way to give back and provide an additional layer of life skills and an early-stage entrepreneurial playbook. We have talked to so many professional athletes over the decades that tell us they didn’t learn these skills until later in life, and in some cases, after it was too late.
“We believe that recent NIL legislation gives student-athletes a 10-year head start on learning life and entrepreneurial skills that will help them grow whether they enter the job market or become a professional athlete.”
Frerking, who has a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management and leadership and is working toward a master’s degree, has already dabbled in the world of NIL: Metro Straw has paid to sponsor social media posts by Vols receiver Velus Jones and quarterback Brian Maurer.
A wealth of business experience is what led Terry to pick Frerking for the job. The student-athlete already has built his company in the agricultural products business to more than seven figures in annual sales.
Frerking also brings a unique perspective as a student-athlete who has already navigated the relatively unfamiliar territory of NIL.
“On the forefront of one of the largest changes in college athletics history, the opportunity to not only educate student-athletes but also advise parents, mentors, coaches and companies on the unique opportunities to create sustainable value is unparalleled,” Frerking said. “With the backing of On3, NIL U will be positioned to be the leader in complete student-athlete education through high-level content across a variety of platforms.”
Athletes who reside or play in Tennessee can wade into the NIL market Jan. 1 thanks to a bill Gov. Bill Lee signed into law in May.