KNOXVILLE, Tenn.– On Thursday night, Tennessee football and baseball stars displayed their new merchandise through their partnership with local sports marketing and media agency Spyre Sports.
Spyre Sports' partnership with players such as quarterback Hendon Hooker, wide receiver Cedric Tillman, freshman running back Justin Williams, baseball catcher Evan Russell, pitcher Blade Tidwell and outfielder Drew Gilbert have led to multiple shirt and jersey designs. (See below)
The Vols' apparel can be purchased in stores such as Vol Shop and Alumni Hall, with more retailers to eventually have the products available as well, according to Spyre Sports co-founder Hunter Baddour.
Other than the financial aspect that comes with an NIL partnership such as Hooker and Tillman's with Spyre, the feeling of being represented by Vol fans is something Hooker and Tillman touched on talking with Volunteer Country.
"It's gonna be surreal," Hooker said. "Like a dream come true honestly. As a kid, you idolize athletes and want to be like them and wear what they wear. Wear their paraphernalia. It's a blessing to have this opportunity, and it's going to be a beautiful sight in Neyland when we see the fans in the stands wearing your jersey when you score a touchdown."
Hooker's go-to receiver agreed, noting he is looking forward to seeing his family be able to wear his gear as well.
"Yeah. just like Hendon said. Growing up as a kid, having your own jersey, own shirt even, is something you dream of, so this is really a dream come true. I'm excited for the fans to be able to wear them as well as my family."
Hooker and Tillman both told Volunteer Country that their favorite project so far has been the T-shirt exhibiting the Hooker-Tillman connection.
As for Justin Williams, the freshman who will grace Shields-Watkins Field for the first time this fall in orange and white, noted his merchandise is yet to be released because he does not know which number he will wear yet.
The trio of BaseVols join Hooker and Tillman as players to already have merchandise ready to hit the market. Russell's shirt features the 'Daddy' hat the players put on after hitting a home-run, and Gilbert's tee features the junior's trademark look.
As for Vols sophomore ace Blade Tidwell, the pitcher had a jersey on display for all to engage with Thursday night.
Baddour, Tillman and Williams gave statements to the media in regards to the future of the partnership at the top of the event. Their statements are in the video at the top of the article.
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