Rayquan Smith, Norfolk State
Photo: Nick Sutton

Norfolk State running back Rayquan Smith is taking full advantage of his NCAA name, image and likeness (NIL) rights becoming the first HBCU athlete to partner with popular athletic brand Eastbay.

Smith was featured in an ad for the brand with the tagline #BeTheOne displaying his excellent footwork in on the field drills.

The 5-foot-9, 210-pound redshirt sophomore out of Richmond, VA., played in seven games during the 2019 season and rushed for 430 yards on 84 carries.

Smith is just one of many HBCU athletes taking advantage of what is a golden opportunity for college athletes to gain exposure for themselves as a brand.

On July 1, Jackson State defensive end transfer Antwan Owens signed a deal with black-owned hair company Three Kings Grooming becoming the first college athlete to sign a NIL deal.

Also read: Former HBCU athletes say new NIL policy will put money in pockets, encourage graduation

Tennessee State freshman basketball player Hercy Miller, son of legendary rapper Master P, signed a $2 million deal with tech company Web Apps America.

Also, Prairie View A&M women’s soccer player Reagan Scott signed a deal with Dream Prints Gear (DPG) brand.

Former Clark-Atlanta wide receiver Johnathan Sanders spoke about the importance of HBCU athletes taking advantage of their NIL rights. “While I played football, I still worked a full-time job,” he said. “It was a stressful situation … They can just make the money, go to school and play football.”


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