Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith announced Wednesday he has hired Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports for representation.

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith has signed on with Jay-Z, getting in on the ground floor of the hip-hop icon’s new Roc Nation Sports agency.

“When you talk about being in New York from a standpoint of what they can do in the city, the connections that they have, I think it’s a good move,” Smith told The New York Daily News. My mother and my family were comfortable with it. I’m comfortable with it.”

The signing seems splashy, given Jay-Z’s broad appeal throughout the entertainment industry. But if Smith craves endorsements and superstar status, he certainly downplayed it after Wednesday’s practice. He realizes there’s no better marketing scheme for him than winning football games.

“The only thing that’s important to be is the image that is perceived around this lockerroom, the guy that I am to my teammates, to my coaches and the work that I put in on the football field,” he said.

“I don’t worry about the outside world’s perception. I’m comfortable with who I am, strong in my faith. I know that this isn’t because of an image thing or trying to market myself. It’s just being comfortable with the guys who’s going to represent me.”

Smith’s image has taken a few bruises since he led WVU to a 5-0 start last season. The Mountaineers wound up 7-6, and though Smith departed the program’s all-time passing leader, he was blistered by a Pro Football Weekly scouting report for lacking.

Projected as a first-round draft pick, Smith slipped into the draft’s second day before going to the New York Jets at No. 39. He promptly fired his original agents at Select Sports, and within days, unnamed sources said Smith irked some teams by seeming aloof and texting incessantly during pre-draft interviews. (Note: Some media members alleged those interview tidbits were leaked by Smith’s former reps.)

Roc Nation, formed earlier this year through a partnership with West Coast power-player Creative Arts Agency, previously signed New York Yankees slugger Robinson Cano and WNBA rookie Skylar Diggins.

Former WVU star and NFL veteran John Thornton, serving as Smith’s advisor, recently organized meetings with five potential agencies from more than 20 who sought to represent the Jets rookie.

“It was a real professional process, nobody had the advantage,” Thornton said on “Statewide SportsLine” last Friday. “We just tried to calm things down for Geno because things got so crazy with rumors and everybody wanting to speak on it.”

Though Jay-Z was in London when Smith’s group visited Roc Nation, Thornton came away impressed. “We left that office and there was so much energy in there, with a lot of successful people working.”

Thornton said Smith absorbed unfair criticism and “went through something not a lot of players went through” during the weeks of predraft hyper-scrutiny.

“It was a weak draft in star power so (the media) sort of latched on to Geno, whether it was good or bad,” Thornton said. “Everything was all Geno. He probably doesn’t trust a lot of people. The big thing for him in choosing an agent is finding a comfort level.

“I played 10 years and I fired three agents, and it didn’t take a lot for me to fire them. I fired my first agent (because) we played the Rams in the Super Bowl in Atlanta and my agent lived in Atlanta and he never came and saw me. I was upset with that, so you know what? Two months later he got a letter.”

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  • Justin

    I love the College Geno ws apart of NOT the person he is and has become. GO TAVON and Bailey!

  • Big Larry

    Who cares about Geno's image? The guy is making millions of dollars...Let Geno worry about his image. What does any of that mean to us? Who gives a flip?

    I didn't realize there were so many sissies in here. Was there any mention of it on "The View"....Or was your latest soap opera star cheated on again?

    What are you people thinking???

    • cutty77

      @ Big Larry,
      Recruits care about what Geno,Tavon,Steadman are doing. Why do you think Ivan McCartney came back to the Team. Because he saw what those Players Did. Geno has got more attention than any other player in This Years Draft. Good or Bad it makes no difference people are talking about him. Did you see what John Thronton said over 20 agents wanted a shot at Geno. Alot of WV people have no clue about whats happening outside of there trailer.

      • Big Larry


        You are usually above all of this and your comments are usually "Spot On".

        However this is stuff for the gossip columns...Recruits don't care about Geno's Image...Pu-Leeze. His image isn't going to help them any.

        I hope Geno performs well and all of that...but I don't care about his image...Come on Man.....His image is not going to determine how he performs on the field.

        And his image certainly is not going to help you make your trailer payment!

        • cutty77

          @ Big Larry,
          I have The Title to my Trailer Big Larry,and its Nice One too. The Title that is LOL Everybody have a Happy and safe Memorial Weekend.

  • West by God

    I seem to remember the 2010 game against Marshall where Geno brought WVU back from a 21-6 deficit with less than 6 minutes left in the game and won in overtime 24-21!

    • cutty77

      @West By God,
      I remember it well. Geno took them on two 98 yard drives with less than 2 minutes to play,and had to go for two 2 points conversation also. Thats when i knew Geno was a QB.I truley felt sorry for Marshall and Doc.But that was the year where Doc and Chuck Landon called the NCAA in on Stew about using Spyder Pads the first week of Fall Drills. What goes around,comes around always.

    • Charleston,WV

      you beat me to the draw! Well stated!

  • e-roc

    i am a hardcore dub-v fan and very fair with my observations and outlook on life. geno is not the man to get your team out the hole when your team is down but rather he will pitch in and dig it deeper. when things are going great, he will excel and push the limit of greatness. if i remember correctly, geno is 0-9 when his team is trailing by 14 points or less in the first half. not once has he led a come back. not saying its his fault, but geno also thinks its not his fault. i just remember elway and no matter what happen on the field he would just come back and win...not geno but he is a hard worker and nice kid...alittle self absorbed but we all are flawed...good kid and very good move with roc nation...you got to take risks to be somebody so good for him...and if he becomes a star i am sure this agent will open more doors than any other sports agent could...

    • Charleston,WV

      Ummmm, did you forget the comeback in Huntington in 2010 when WVU was down 21-6 in the fourth quarter? I believe we did manage a to win that game.

  • RealJoe

    I see Geno is wearing the # 7. I didn't think the Jets would let him wear Joe Willie's # 12.
    Now its time for Geno to concentrate on football and not concern himself with the big city lights.

  • Shawn

    Good hire on Geno's part!

  • TC

    How many other young NFL players deal with the same stuff?! Every year there is somthing or someone new being criticized for one thing or another. Whether its a big or small issue people just want somthing to talk about ecspecially in NY. All Geno has to do is play like we all know he can and work hard to get better in the process plain and simple.

  • Gunga Din

    The thing that will help Geno's image the most is playing good football -- everything else is just window dressing. Winning football games makes all the extracurricular stuff fade away.

    • JuliaIrishEyes

      Well stated. You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din.

  • Jim N Charleston

    Geno plays for one of the worst run/ran franchises in sports. It will be a long season. His agent choice is the least of his worries.

    The right side of the O Line is BEYOND HORRIBLE AND he has no wrs or running game to help him. Best move is hope for a trade or Ryan getting fired. Otherwise his career will be short.

    • tw eagle

      the jets will probably have a horrid season. . .the front office will be swept clean , and the new crew will use their top draft pick to choose a 'franchise' QB. . .smith will get a couple of years to see Johnny Football get broken into being the new 'broadway joe'

  • cutty77

    New York is The Marketing Capitol of The World. Geno got the Guy that owns New York. Very Smart Move by Geno. If he wins on The Field,Barney Fiffe could represent him.Quit the Hating On Geno,hes a Great Young Man. 3 comments on here,one guy can't spell Geno's Name.The other 2 have No idea either. Stay in Huntington.

  • David

    Well we never said the guy was smart.

    • Charles

      And nobody ever said you was either!!!! Geno only has a English degree from wvu. Not your run of a mill athlete. What do you have smart guy???

      • Dwkzn

        Quite a decent poet as well.

  • Jcol

    All QB have star power. Gino is no different.
    He will be judged on his performance on the field.

  • Chris

    I think this is a bad idea. They all think he's a Diva now it's going to get even worse.