Quinnen Williams almost assuredly won’t be waiting long tonight in the 1st round of the NFL Draft in Nashville. He’s considered by many to be a top-3 pick by people such as Steve Serby of the New York Post, who has the Jets taking Williams at No. 3 overall.
UPDATE: The Jets took Williams with the No. 3 pick.
Others such as Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report flat out calls him “the best player in the 2019 NFL Draft.” This buzz is likely pointing to a large paycheck for the former Alabama defensive tackle ($29 million per CNBC).
Nicole Lynn is his agent and it’s not just notable that she’s expecting a big commission after tonight’s draft selection. She made history as the first black woman to represent a top-5 pick.
Here’s what you need to know about the 30-year old Lynn.
1. She Works as an Agent for Lil Wayne’s Young Money APAA Sports
She garnered a lot of attention recently when she signed Williams as a client for Young Money APAA Sports, a sports agency owned by rapper Lil Wayne. According to an article by The Undefeated, the 6-foot-3, 300-pounder is a change of pace for the company, who until now has represented mostly veteran players. This was also the case for Lynn.
With Williams, Lynn was stepping into territory out of her usual realm of veteran players, and she learned to appreciate everything that comes with the sought-after player.
“When I met Quinnen for the first time, I was shocked to see that he was just as impressed with me as I was with him,” Lynn said. “He told me that he couldn’t believe I had never repped a first-round draft pick but he wanted to change that. He believed in me, and I am forever grateful.”
Her reputation proceeds herself, as in 2015, she became the first female agent to represent a top NFL agency when she signed with PlayersRep. According to her personal bio, she now works for Young Money due to a 2017 acquisition of PlayersRep.
What motivates her as a sports agent? Sharing the principles of her current firm, she wants to “give back to players.”
“Lil Wayne got into the business for the same reason I got into the business,” Lynn said to The Undefeated. “He wanted to give back to players. He wanted to help them when football was over. At the end of the day, we can all identify with this. Lil Wayne doesn’t need this money, this sports money. It isn’t for that. He’s doing it for a bigger purpose, and I love that. I love working with people every day that walk with the same purpose, and that’s superpowerful.”
2. She Earned Her Doctorate in Law at the University of Oklahoma
She graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2011 with a degree in Business Administration, Business Management. A year later, she was accepted into the Oklahoma College of Law, according to her LinkedIn profile.
She graduated with honors in 2015, and lists the following in terms of accomplishments and activities:
American Indian Law Review-Managing Editor; National Moot Court; Sports and Entertainment Society; Black Law Students Association; Phi Delta Phi Honor’s Society; Dean’s Leadership Council
She was also on the Order of the Coif and Order of the Barristers, two honors societies for law school graduates. Despite this littany of accomplishments, many in the sports agency world still underestimate her. In an Oklahoman piece in 2018, she described the usual interactions she has with other agents.
“Typically when I walk up, they don’t ever assume I’m an agent,” Lynn said later, describing the day she supported client and Big 12 defensive player of the year Malik Jefferson. “They assume I’m someone else. ‘Oh are you a player’s girlfriend? A media person? A marketing rep?’ So it’s rare to even be assumed to be an agent.”
3. She is Also a Litigation Attorney at Norton Rose Fulbright in Houston
Her LinkedIn profile shows that she started working at Houston-based law firm Norton Rose Fulbright in Sep. 2016. Her company bio lists her focus as “financial institutions and dispute resolution and litigation.” She worked on Wall Street as a financial analyst before switching to law.
She is admitted to the Texas State Bar and was recognized as a Pro Bono All-Star in 2018. Just last November, the NAACP named her one of their “Millenial Trailblazers, citing her:
Activism and advocacy for the civil rights of disenfranchised and marginalized people as well as creating room for social justice in the Houston area.
She attributes her success as a lawyer and sports agent to the adversity she faced early in her life in Tulsa.
“The adversity I experienced as a child definitely shaped my mindset as an adult. I knew that I wanted to escape that life, and I had to work hard to do it. So I have always done just that. I owe every bit of success I’ve achieved to my extremely dedicated work ethic and my unwavering faith in God.”
4. She Posted a Video of Her Celebrating the Bengals Selecting Her Client Malik Jefferson in 2018
Last year in the NFL Draft, she represented (among others) former Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson. The 6-foot-2, 241-pounder was selected No. 78 overall in the 3rd round by the Cincinnati Bengals.
She posted a video of her celebrating with him on Instagram, and reposted it recently. The caption reads: “In honor of the NFL Draft, let’s throw it back to last year’s draft when client @malikjefferson was selected by the @bengals! I love celebrating with my clients (I swear I have rhythm y’all (smiley face emoji)”
Alongside Williams in the 2019 NFL draft class, Lynn reps Mecole Hardman Jr., D’Andre Walker, Gary Johnson, Jakobi Meyers, Dennis Daley, Emeke Egbule and Jamal Davis II.
5. She Appeared on the “Work In Sports” Podcast to Give Career Advice Last November
Lynn appeared on Episode 131 of the “Work In Sports” podcast with Brian Clapp this past November. The press release states: “From recruiting and signing athletes, to setting up their future and being discounted as a woman in a predominantly male field, she shares it all.”
Clapp sets up the discussion by talking about the various prejudices she’s received in her life.
This happens to everyone, not just today’s guest. People judge you, every one of you, day in and day out, without knowing a thing about you. They assume, they guess, they predict.
You’re too young.
You’re a woman.
You have blond hair.
You wear braces.
You’re dressed different.
You have darker skin.
You have different eyes.
You have different beliefs.
Lynn discusses that despite her success as an agent and the publicity she’s received recently, many women and people of color still see doors slammed in their face in the sports representation industry.