Norfolk State Running Back Makes History With New Hockey Team Partnership

Photo: Rayquan Smith (@rsmith24_ on Twitter)

After the NCAA's landmark decision to end its restrictions on name, image and likeness (NIL), many college athletes took advantage of the opportunities. For Rayquan Smith, star running back for the Norfolk State University football team, it was about getting other HBCU athletes on board and he made history in the process.

According to For The Culture HBCU, Smith became the first HBCU athlete to partner with a professional sports team. The 20-year-old Richmond, Virginia native is now working with the Norfolk's professional hockey team, The Admirals as an official social media influencer.

"My main goal is to help every HBCU athlete to get on some type of deal or sponsorship because I feel like we're not as big as the power five schools so I'm just trying to make an example you can get deals no matter what school you're at," Smith told WAVY10 News over the summer.

Smith has more than 78,000 followers on social media and has used his platform to land deals with companies interested in promoting products.

"I like to be active with my followers, I like to be funny," Smith said. "When it (NIL decision) came out, I just said 'well, I've been doing this, might as well get paid for doing it now."

So far, Smith has deals with six companies including Arby's, Eastbay and more. His new historic partnership with The Admirals is only growing his brand.

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