Neil's brief primer:
Austin grew up a huge Miami Hurricanes fan, and walked on there after his high school days at Carmel High School in Indianapolis. He ended up walking-on at the University of Miami and playing there three years before a grad transfer to Drake. He always had an interest in government, law, and looking up sports contracts. Once he finished law school at Drake, he didn't want to get out of athletics, and he felt that being a sports agent would be a natural fit. He took and passed the NFLPA exam last summer.
Active NFL clients:
Two of Austin's clients, Purdue TE Cole Herdman (Ravens) and Miami (Fla.) DC Jhavonte Dean (Browns) signed undrafted free agent deals.
Why did he become an agent?:
"I have played football since I was 7. I also have seen former teammates get taken advantage of, and therefore, I wanted to become an agent and do it for the right reasons and merge together my passion for football as well as my passion for helping others."
CEO of Pfenninger Representation Group.
His take on the NFLPA exam:
"Neil's practice exam and study guide were invaluable. There was only one question I actually guessed on. I did second-guess and use almost the whole allotted three hours. The exam was a lot tougher than I anticipated. You must pay attention to the wording. I dedicated multiple months to studying for the exam. Since the exam is open book, most individuals believe that the exam will be easy, but the exam is extremely conceptual."
Hardest part of being an agent:
"The money. The reality is every player wants training, a signing bonus from the agent, and a marketing advance. This is a bad precedent that does not fall on the players but more of the precedent that our agents have created over the years. The other hard part about being an agent for me is, because I am 24 years old, a lot of people like to question my competence."
He felt like he'd had a successful first year as a contract advisor when. . . :
"I announced my class. I signed more clients than I originally planned for the year. Having two players make a 90-man roster in my first year was another successful moment. But, in the grand scheme of things, I still have a long way to go."
Lesson he learned that he wished he'd known last summer:
"The lesson I have learned is the difficulty of making connections on the scouting side. A lot of scouts will not just talk to talk. There is no blueprint within the industry, and the scouting part of the job is the hardest. Not every team is true to their word, which can be challenging at times."