Recently launched Anchor Collective signs AJ Swann, Will Sheppard and CJ Taylor to NIL deals

Three key members of the Vanderbilt football program signed NIL deals with the recently launched Anchor Collective.


Miguel Beristain

WR Will Sheppard after a monumental catch, as captured on Nov. 26, 2022. (Hustler Photography/Miguel Beristain)

Bryce Smith, Sports Editor

Vanderbilt Football’s offseason has gotten off to a stellar start with the announcement of three NIL (Name, Image and Likeness) deals for key members of the football team: quarterback AJ Swann, wide receiver Will Sheppard and linebacker CJ Taylor. The trio signed NIL deals with the recently launched “Anchor Collective”. With the deals in place, it appears that Vanderbilt will keep three young stars out of the transfer portal and on their 2023 roster.

According to its website, the collective is “dedicated to enhancing the experience of Vanderbilt student-athletes by providing opportunities to capitalize on their name, image, and likeness, while never compromising integrity.” The collective is not affiliated with the university, but “works on behalf of its student-athletes.” 

The creation of the collective comes at an important inflection point in the landscape of college athletics. In the summer of 2021, the NCAA changed longstanding rules allowing student-athletes to profit off of their own name, image and likeness. In response, over 120 universities launched unaffiliated “collectives” to pool together NIL funds for student-athletes. With the creation of the Anchor Collective, Vanderbilt Athletics can begin to compete on the same playing field as many of their SEC peers in the NIL space.