As a new class of NFL rookies start their professional football careers following the 2020 NFL Draft, another former collegiate player is getting a life in the game off the ground.
Ex- Virginia and Wake Forest receiver EJ Scott started his second act in football in October, founding The Sports Group, a full-service boutique agency. Last month, Scott helped his first client, cornerback Kevin Johnson, the 2015 No. 16 overall pick, secure a deal with the Cleveland Browns worth up to $6 million.
Once the NFLPA certified him in October 2019, Scott jumped right into his agency in hopes of starting to build something with a lasting impact.
“A lot of times, at my age, someone else might go work with someone else, but I wanted to be growing this thing for myself,” the 27-year-old Scott said. “Why wait? I know I’m younger than a typical agent, but I felt I could build something now that will be around with an impact that reaches well beyond the field.”
Scott knows it will take time to build up his business. That’s among his biggest messages to other athletes making the transition away from whatever sport they play into the working world.
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“Patience in business is a big thing; as athletes we’re used to instant results,” he said. “We come out in the real world, and things don’t happen as quickly. I know I need to have the patience to build, whether that takes three, five years, or longer. It’ll be fulfilling whenever it does happen.”
That message, and managing the general transition from college, are among the reasons Scott believes he’ll be able to court a solid clientele to his practice. He believes his age and playing experience put him in a unique position to relate to clients. After graduating early from Virginia, the receiver transferred to Wake Forest in 2014 and finished up a master’s degree from the school’s liberal studies program.
He played at a high enough level in college to earn a short stint at the Buffalo Bills rookie minicamp. While he didn’t ultimately stick in the NFL, Scott said he understands the in-season and offseason needs of an athlete and is still at an age where he connects on a personal level with them.
“I want to take a more hands-on role and have a deep connection with my clients,” he said. “I feel I can go out and meet a need for players in a different way than the current landscape.”
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The focus on relationships is how he landed Johnson as his first client. The pair were roommates during Scott’s season at Wake Forest, where he learned all about Johnson’s processes and personality. While future clients may not be former roommates, that template of personal connection will be a driving factor in how Scott operates.
He also knows it will be a slow process building up a roster of clients – in football or other sports. Scott plans to offer a full-service slate to his clients, outsourcing for help when needed.
“I want to avoid rushing into things, I like quality relationships with a quality approach to everything they want to do,” Scott said. “The big thing for me is building a company with the values I believe in with guys who are a good fit. We’ll meet naturally, and it’ll grow slowly with them.
“I’m not rushing to chase numbers; I just want to make sure I’m doing the best job I can for the clients that demand full attention,” he said.