SBJ/January 7-13, 2013/Labor and Agents

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  • Agency partnering with Fletcher Smith on draft prospects

    Liz Mullen
    Veteran NFL player agent Fletcher Smith is partnering with two agents who are relatively new to the business to represent a number of players for the 2013 NFL draft, including two of the year’s top-rated wide receivers: Cal’s Keenan Allen and Tennessee’s Justin Hunter.

    Smith and agents JT Johnson and Tae Darnell also have signed Cal quarterback Zach Maynard, who is Allen’s half-brother.

    Smith owns Chicago-based Blueprint Management Group, while Johnson and Darnell co-own Gadsden, Ala.-based Atlas Sports Agency. Blueprint and Atlas have been working together on an informal basis, but Johnson said he hopes the two firms formally merge in the near future. Smith said that was yet to be determined.

    “We have decided to work together on these guys and we will evaluate the relationship as we go,” Smith said. “We met over a year ago. JT reached out to me and asked if I would help out with guys they were recruiting that we saw had first-round potential.”

    Both Johnson and Darnell were certified by the NFL Players Association to represent NFL players in 2009. Neither agent represents any NFL players.

    Smith, who was certified by the NFLPA in 1996, has represented a number of star players during his career, including quarterback Donovan McNabb and wide receiver Antwaan Randle El, who are both currently working in broadcasting. Since leaving the former CSMG agency in 2008, Smith has concentrated his practice on a smaller number of players and represents six NFL players, including Detroit running back Mikel Leshoure.

    In addition to co-representing three players with Atlas, Smith’s Blueprint has signed University of Illinois defensive end Michael Buchanan and cornerback Terry Hawthorne.

    > REP 1 SIGNS LOTULELEI: Rep 1 Sports, the NFL player representation firm founded by cousins Bruce and Ryan Tollner, has signed Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, who some draft analysts have pegged as the potential No. 1 pick in this year’s NFL draft. Website NFLDraftScout.com had him ranked No. 2 last week.

    Lotulelei will be represented by the Tollners as well as Rep 1 Sports agents Chase Callahan and Brian Parker.

    Bruce Tollner would not speculate where Lotulelei may be taken in the draft. Rep 1 signed Lotulelei after attending a number of Utah games during the season, meeting with his family and competing in an interview process with four other NFL player representation firms. Rep 1 has recruited and signed other players out of Utah, including Denver Broncos offensive guard Zane Beadles.

    Irvine, Calif.-based Rep 1 represents about 40 NFL players, including Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

    > SIGNINGS FOR LAGARDERE, OCTAGON, CARIC: Prominent agent Joel Segal of Lagardère Unlimited has signed Central Michigan left tackle Eric Fisher for representation in the NFL draft. NFLDraftScout.com ranked Fisher No. 20 in its mock draft last week. … Octagon has signed Utah State cornerback Will Davis and University of Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant. Octagon agents Doug Hendrickson and Ken Landphere will represent Davis, while Hendrickson will represent Trufant. Hendrickson has specialized in representing cornerbacks and also represents Trufant’s brother, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant, who was the No. 11 overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft. NFLDraftScout.com ranked Trufant No. 5 and Davis No. 7 at the cornerback position last week. … Caric Sports Management has signed two San Jose State players: tight end Ryan Otten and offensive tackle David QuessenberrySteve Caric will represent the players. Caric founded Las Vegas-based Caric Sports in 2008 after working for veteran agent Gary Uberstine’s Premier Sports & Entertainment for five years.

    Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.

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