Neil's brief primer: Tate played football at Louisiana College in Pineville, La., but knew the NFL wasn't in the cards. He'd always wanted to do something with sports and the law, so he began Googling how to be an agent, and found the Tulane sports law program. There, he got involved in the Sports Law Society and helped out in the school's annual negotiation competition. Eventually he met New Orleans-based agent Jason Cavignac, another Tulane grad, and he interned with Jason. After graduating from Tulane Law in '17, he took and passed the NFLPA exam last summer.
Active NFL clients: McNeese St. WO
Kent Shelby signed with the Chargers as a UDFA.
Why did he become an agent?: "The thing that attracted me to law was the ability to help people, and I've had a passion for sports, so I kept trying to find a way to merge those two, and the more I learned about agent work, the more I learned it was about helping athletes and watching them succeed."
Day job: Work at Couhig Partners, a commercial law firm in New Orleans.
His take on the NFLPA exam: "It was tough, but it was one of those things where I benefited from being in a program (Tulane) where we learned a lot of things about the exam. But if you go to that seminar and have a baseline knowledge and pay attention in the seminar, and take good notes, you can pass. I don't think it's an impossible test."
Hardest part of being an agent: "Learning to deal with rejection in various forms. If you're recruiting a player and you think you have a good shot and it doesn't work out, it's hard not to take that personally. That's tough. On the team side, rejection as far as you think a team is really interested, and then draft day comes and you don't hear anything. And in the UDFA part, you reach out to teams and they tell you straight up, 'not interested.' So that's probably the toughest part."
He felt like he'd had a successful first year as a contract advisor when . . .: "You get a player signed. The whole recruiting process isn't always a simple thing, and we went after some guys and struck out for one reason or another, but getting some guys with my name on the SRA felt like success."
Lesson he learned that he wished he'd known before he got certified: "Recruiting is a 24-7-365 thing, and it's not reserved for whatever class may be coming out this year. It's a constant thing that you have to be always on top of."