Neil's brief primer: A longtime recruiter in the South Carolina area for the late Eugene Parker, the game changed for Tory when the NFLPA outlawed runners in the spring of 2013. One of the most 'connected' football people in the Carolinas, Tory has deep roots across the high school and college landscape in the Carolinas. He pursued certification in 2013 and passed the test, and in his first year certified, co-represented several draftees and undrafted free agents, including the No. 4 pick in the draft, Buffalo's
Sammy Watkins. It was the first time in decades that a first-year agent represented a top-five pick.
Active NFL clients (2014): Dandy represents two veterans, Rams DE
Alex Carrington and Cardinals WO
Brittan Golden, along with four rookies: 49ers WO
Bruce Ellington (4/106)
, Giants DT
Kelcy Quarles (UDFA), Minnesota OT
Antonio 'Tiny' Richardson (UDFA) and the aforementioned Watkins.
Editor's note: Today, he represents 28 active NFL players, including several former first-rounders.
Why did he become an agent?: "My junior year in college I was playing at Tusculum and had a torn rotator cuff, and had previously had surgery on the other shoulder, but I still wanted to work in sports. I had no blueprint, so I did my research and ran across this field. One of my fraternity brothers was working at Synergy Sports in South Carolina, and they had (former NFL RB)
Duce Staley and (current Cardinals DE)
John Abraham, and I trained with (Synergy) and just started from there. I had no idea about this career and what it entailed, and once I got into it, I just fell in love with it."
Day job: "This is 24-7 for me. My job is to make sure my guys are taken care of."
His take on the NFLPA exam: "I've been around the business for 10 years, so the terminology, I was familiar with. It's definitely a challenge if you're not prepared, but if you go in there well-prepared, I think you can take it and pass."
Hardest part of being an agent: "I would have to say (getting past) a lot of the fluff in the business that is being perceived (as credible) by families and also potential clients. A lot of agents have been dishonest, so when you try to do the right thing, it makes it kind of tough to do it the right way. But I am a true believer in doing it the right way, and I truly believe God will put the right young men in my life that are really supposed to be in my life, so that's how I am at peace in this business. Every potential client is not necessarily the right fit for you."
He felt like he'd had a successful first year as a contract advisor when: . . . "Well, first of all, when you have one client that's great, but to go into a draft with five guys that have a chance to get drafted, and four are on teams right now, plus to have a top-five pick, that's a rare feat, and just to know that is humbling in itself. It's been a blessing."
Lesson he learned that he wished he'd known last summer: "I've been in the (client management) business 15 years now, and I wished I'd gotten certified maybe 3-4 years ago."