Most Marketable Athletes in the Women’s Volleyball Elite Eight

The stage is set for the NCAA Women’s Volleyball DI Elite Eight.

Full of superstar athletes, let’s break down the top 10 most marketable student-athletes, based on NIL value.

Lexi Sun | University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Sun entered the NIL era with a hot start by releasing her own merchandise line soon after the gates opened on July 1. With a following of 98K+ between Instagram and Twitter, Sun showed volleyball players, and all student-athletes around the country, that NIL was for everyone.

Having a strong presence in her community led Sun to partner with a local jewelry company, Borsheims in Omaha, Neb., to release her own collection. Her curated feed of fashion, positive moments, and volleyball made this partnership a perfect fit.

Lauren Stivrins | University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Stivrins has used her NIL to connect with fans directly. Her biggest moves have been co-hosting a volleyball camp and co-hosting a podcast with teammate, Nicklin Hames.

Asjia O’Neal | University of Texas at Austin

O’Neal was a member of Degree’s #BreakingLimits campaign, sharing the story about how she got back onto the court after open-heart surgery. Being real with followers on social media has allowed O’Neal to be relatable and create fans for life.

Nicklin Hames | University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Hames has taken the NIL era by storm, creating a portfolio of 10+ deals on the national to local level. She has successfully balanced participating in NIL activities while being one of the best athletes in her sport.

 We caught up with Hames in November and she shared the long-term value of participating in NIL activities and building her personal brand: “I’ve been able to build my brand through NIL and connect with a lot of people I don’t think I would have been able to before. I’ll have those connections for my entire life. Say I want to get into an industry after volleyball is done, you know? Everyone hates to say that, but someday the jersey has to go up and it’s over. So having those connections with those brands gives me an opportunity later down the road if I want to do that career path. I have those connections now.”

Dana Rettke | University of Wisconsin-Madison

As a business marketing major, Rettke has been growing her personal brand on social media throughout her time as a student-athlete noting, “I was someone who, coming into college, definitely wanted to focus on building my own brand. I’m a marketing student so I had some background in that, focusing on that and making sure it was a priority because now it wasn’t just an audience of people who were watching on the volleyball court. It was way beyond that.”

From participating in Degree’s #BreakingLimits campaign to being the Head of Brand Management of UNCUT Madison, an athlete-driven storytelling platform, there’s no question that Rettke is one of the most marketable in the sport.

Madi Kubik | University of Nebraska-Lincoln

With a social media following of 26.8K+ followers, Kubik as laid low in the NIL era. Growing an engaged audience across social platforms has Kubik prepared for NIL success when she’s ready to navigate the new era.

Logan Eggleston | University of Texas at Austin

Eggleston has been building a loyal following throughout her time at Texas, and it’s now paying off. Doing national-level deals with brands like Champs Sports/Eastbay and Degree, Eggleston shares a mix of volleyball and personal content.

Jhenna Gabriel | University of Texas at Austin

Bringing energy and personality with each post, a quick scroll through Gabriel’s feed showcases her love of volleyball and fashion, with a few brand partnerships mixed in that stay organic to her social presence.

Kenzie Knuckles | University of Nebraska-Lincoln

One of Nebraska Volleyball’s captains, Knuckles has tapped into the Lincoln, Neb. community and built a following of 26.3K followers. She has participated in several local deals, including creating her own merchandise and appearing as a guest on local podcasts.

Callie Schwarzenbach | University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Rounding out our top 10 most marketable volleyball players in the NCAA Elite Eight, is Nebraska senior Callie Schwarzenbach. From cookies to autograph signings, Schwarzenbach is another who has unlocked the power of connecting with the local community.