Tanner Allen is making money and giving back to Mississippi State in the process.
On Wednesday, the Bulldogs outfielder and Southeastern Conference player of the year took advantage of new name, image and likeness legislation, announcing personalized trading cards and T-shirts.
A portion of the proceeds will go to the Mississippi State Foundation, according to Allen’s website.
“The four years in Starkville will be with me forever, and giving back to the good people at Miss St. is something I’m honored to do,” Allen wrote. “GO Dawgs!”
The senior right fielder will not be returning for a final season in Starkville, choosing to sign with a professional team after being selected in this weekend’s MLB First-Year Player Draft. Round 1 is Sunday, Rounds 2-10 are Monday, and Rounds 11-20 are Tuesday.
Allen finished the 2021 season with a .383 batting average, 11 home runs and 66 runs batted in. He had perhaps the biggest hit in the Bulldogs’ national championship run: a three-run home run against Virginia in the winners’ bracket game June 22.
His trading cards, some of which are autographed and most of which have already sold out, are the first of their kind among amateur athletes. The clothing includes a shirt featuring the likenesses of Allen and center fielder Rowdey Jordan with “Legends of Starkville” printed on it and maroon and white shirts bearing a cartoon of Allen’s face — including his trademark sunglasses.
Also for sale? Shirts with the outline of the state of Mississippi with an X over the home of rival Ole Miss and the words “Except Oxford,” referring to Allen’s comments after the Bulldogs’ title-sealing win over Vanderbilt.
“I couldn’t be more happy for a team, a town, a fan base, the whole state of Mississippi … except Oxford, of course,” Allen said.
He isn’t the first Mississippi State baseball player to cash in on NIL since it became legal in the state July 1. Catcher Logan Tanner and infielder Drew McGowan signed with Barstool Sports, and first baseman Josh Hatcher — who reportedly entered the NCAA transfer portal — said Wednesday he had struck an NIL deal.
In other sports, quarterback Jack Abraham also signed with Barstool, as did women’s golf star Ashley Gilliam and NC State transfer guard Shakeel Moore of the Bulldogs men’s basketball team. Moore also announced July 1 he’d signed with a national recruiting site called “Stock Risers” and will write a weekly blog post.
His teammate, former Alabama forward Javian Davis, signed with Alabama Vintage in Tuscaloosa on Monday.
On the women’s basketball side of things, guard Myah Taylor signed with BallN Brands on Tuesday.
Theo DeRosa reports on Mississippi State sports for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @Theo_DeRosa.