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Agent gets big opportunity with football client’s little brother

Agent gets big opportunity with football client’s little brother

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Liz Mullen
When NFL player agent Bardia Ghahremani first met a young Giovani Bernard, he was the younger brother of his client, Yvenson Bernard, a solid college running back suffering from a bad knee whom Ghahremani was trying to place with an NFL team.

How times have changed.

“If you had told me he would be the No. 1 running back on the board when I met him when he was a sophomore in high school, I would have said, ‘That’s great, but you are hallucinating,’” Ghahremani said.

But more than five years after signing former Oregon State running back Yvenson, who went undrafted in the 2008 NFL draft, Ghahremani and his agency, International Sports Agency, signed his younger brother, University of North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard.

Giovani Bernard is ranked by many as the top running back in the coming NFL draft.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
Although most draft analysts don’t rank Bernard as a first-round prospect, they do rank him as the top running back in the 2013 draft.

Bernard led the ACC last year in rushing, scoring and all-purpose yards.

“We have had top prospects in the past, but, by far, Giovani is [our] top,” Ghahremani said. “I know he talked to other agents that were pretty major agents.”

Giovani Bernard is a redshirt sophomore and has two more years of eligibility, but he decided to declare for the draft for a number of reasons, including it is not a strong draft for running backs and players at that position have short careers, Ghahremani said. “Running backs get beat up,” Ghahremani said. “The eligibility is great, but when you are a running back, you are putting yourself in harm’s way. When you have a financial opportunity that can benefit you and your family, you have to take it.”

Ghahremani said he is in talks with Nike, Adidas and Under Armour about a shoe deal for Giovani Bernard. “He is going to be heavily endorsed,” he added.

Newport Beach, Calif.-based ISA represents a handful of NFL players, including Saints defensive tackle Tom Johnson and Dolphins linebacker Jason Trusnik.

> LAGARDÈRE SIGNS NFL DRAFT PROSPECTS: Lagardère Unlimited has signed a number of prospects for this year’s NFL draft, including Purdue defensive tackle Kawann Short. Lagardère also signed West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin and LSU linebacker Kevin Minter. The agency’s football president, Joel Segal, will represent the players.

> OCTAGON SIGNS NFL DRAFT PROSPECTS: Octagon has signed a number of prospects for this year’s NFL draft, including Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan.

Octagon also signed wide receiver Kenny Stills and safety Tony Jefferson, two juniors at the University of Oklahoma who decided to forgo their final year of eligibility to enter the NFL draft. Octagon agent Doug Hendrickson represents Jordan, while agent C.J. LaBoy represents Stills and Jefferson.

Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.

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