New York Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith has signed with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports, according to the firm’s website.
Jay-Z, an entertainer whose real name is Shawn Carter, announced last month that he was starting an athlete representation firm with New York Yankees All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano as its first client. The company operates in a partnership with Creative Artists Agency.
Smith, 22, is yet to sign a contract with the Jets, who selected him in the second round of the National Football League Draft. He said today that Jay-Z played “not that big of a role” in his decision.
“I think it’s just his agency,” Smith said at organized team activities, according to the New York Daily News. “When you talk about being in New York from a standpoint of what they can do in the city, the connections that they have, I think it’s a good move.”
The former West Virginia University quarterback was among three players invited to last month’s draft who weren’t selected in the first round, a slight he said was “tough to stomach.” He fired his previous agents at Select Sports Group one week after the draft, according to USA Today.
Smith is the oddsmakers’ favorite to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. He will be in competition for the team’s starting quarterback job, according to John Idzik, the Jets’ first-year general manager.
In addition to Cano, Roc Nation Sports also represents Skylar Diggins of the Tulsa Shock in the Women’s National Basketball Association.