On New Year’s Day in 2016 the Florida Gators played the Michigan Wolverines in the 70th annual Citrus Bowl. The 14th ranked Wolverines won in a 41-7 blowout over the 19th ranked Gators thanks to headlining performances of quarterback Jake Rudock, running back De’Veon Smith and receiver Jehu Chesson. Despite this game being a large achievement for all of the Michigan Wolverines players and a large defeat for the Gators, the 2016 Citrus Bowl marks a big shift in the life of former Florida Gators’ quarterback Joshua Grady. This game was Grady’s last football game. He completed 1 pass for 7 yards to now NFL receiver Antonio Callaway but that had nothing to do with what happened next. Over the span of 4 seasons in the SEC Joshua Grady ran the ball 14 times for just 38 yards, caught 8 passes for 114 yards and completed 6 of 11 passes for 44 yards while throwing 2 interceptions. His numbers aren’t eye opening and didn’t create any professional football opportunities, taking his dream of one day playing in the NFL out of the picture but his dream of being around the game of football remained in the picture, he said in an interview with JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic, “When I realized in 2015 that I wasn’t going to the NFL I knew I wanted to be around the game and I only needed to know how.” Joshua Grady may not have heard his name called on his draft night the way he may have envisioned it to be when he first signed his letters of intent at Vanderbilt University in 2012 but he was in fact in attendance at the 2015 NFL Draft. He was there with his father (Woodrow Grady) and god-brother Dante Fowler Jr who was drafted 3rd overall being represented by the late Eugene Parker. Grady said, “It was graduation week and my friends were planning on going to Panama City Beach but my dad was going to the Draft and said I could either go to the beach with my friends and do that or go to the NFL Draft. I went to the Draft and that experience introduced me to the idea of being an agent. Seeing what Eugene (Parker, Dante Fowler’s agent and friend of Woodrow Grady) was doing, he really set the template for me.”
Setting the template for him, Eugene Parker who represented NFL superstars Deion Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Hines Ward, Rod Woodson, Derrick Brooks, Larry Fitzgerald and more was going to be Joshua Grady’s role model and mentor going into his career as a sports agent. Parker was extremely well known by the public, having success representing some of the NFL’s best players and breaking barriers as an African American sports agent. Grady had said, “Seeing Eugene really painted the picture for me and I wanted to follow in his footsteps.” For Joshua Grady, being mentored and groomed into a career as a sports agent by one of the best to do it in Eugene Parker would have been a perfect scenario and would have been a great start however he had to do it on his own early on. Unfortunately Parker had passed away with cancer in 2016, putting the idea of Joshua being groomed by him as an agent to rest and leaving Joshua by himself to launch his career on his own but at the time he still wasn’t sure if being a sports agent was for him. “I didn’t know I was going to be an agent until I took the (NFLPA Agent) exam.” he told Zlomislic, “Going into it I didn’t know too much about the agent industry. I just saw Eugene (Parker) doing his thing, did some marketing (with JABEZ Marketing Group) and it seemed interesting.”
Following the NFLPA Agent Exam and previously spending time around Eugene Parker as well as the people at JABEZ Marketing Group Joshua Grady had started his own agency, Grady Sports Agency and even-though he may not have been fully informed about what being a sports agent really entails, within just the first year of becoming a certified NFLPA agent he got his first client drafted. Just 15 months after his last college football game as a part of the Florida Gators Grady had his client Leon McQuay iii drafted in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. “In that year there were a lot of learning lessons.” he said, “When I signed Leon all I knew was that you pay for his training, go to his pro day and hope he gets drafted so I learned a lot that year.” McQuay was a 2 year starter for the University of Southern California, making 50 tackles, 4 for a loss, one sack and intercepting one pass over 13 games in his senior year. With his success in the PAC-12 with USC Leon McQuay was talked about leading into the Draft, at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds he was looked at as a nickel that has explosive qualities for the NFL game and he was a great player for Grady to represent in his first year. “One of the biggest things I learned in that first year was that, Leon got drafted by the Chiefs and I never talked to the Chiefs, 95% of this is your client.” Grady explained, “They are the ones running the 40 yard dash, talking to teams pre-draft and going through the entire process so when Leon was drafted I didn’t necessarily feel like I deserved it because I didn’t do anything, I didn’t know what to do, like he had his (East-West) Shrine game and I didn’t go because I didn’t know agents were supposed to go. The first year taught me a lot, I didn’t really enjoy it because I was so new to it and I didn’t know too much but it broke a lot of misconceptions I had for the agent field. It was very eye-opening.”
Leon McQuay was drafted 218th overall in the 6th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs marking Joshua Grady and Grady Sports Agency’s first ever NFL Draft pick. The next year Joshua represented Jordan Wilkins who was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, followed by Byron Coward a 5th round pick by the New England Patriots in 2019, Falcons’ 2020 7th rounder Sterling Hofrichter as well as both Jason Pinnock and Grant Stuard who got the call during the 2021NFL Draft. Grady Sports Agency has had a client drafted in each of the last 5 NFL drafts. When asked about that streak and the success he’s had Joshua had stated, “It’s humbling to be where we are. It shows me that other people can do it. Thats why with my podcast (Agent Talk Podcast) and my classes (Agent Academy) I try to show that you can do it too.” he continued, “There’s no secret sauce or secret recipe that you have to have. It’s just by being intentional and having some guidance so that you can avoid the pitfalls that I fell into when I was starting out because the opportunities are endless in this field.” Not only are the opportunities in the sports industry endless but Joshua Grady has been consistently furthering his opportunities.
While representing a number of professional football players and growing Grady Sports Agency to one day be a house hold name Joshua Grady has been building his personal brand and expanding his audience. Doing so he has launched a digital marketing company in Grady Media, a podcast in The Agent Talk Podcast and an Agent Academy. Each of the three startups have helped his name get out there more not only as an NFL agent but as an entrepreneur and a hustler having also dabbled in some side incomes like dog sitting, Uber eats and investing. Doing these things and also being a former collegiate athlete with both Vanderbilt and Florida has made Grady more relatable for football players, giving him what should be an advantage when it comes to signing a player and building a relationship with a player. “People want to work with someone that they can relate to in some sort of way and I’ve noticed that every client that I have signed with has connected with me with something.” Grady mentioned, “I think it’s very important to have something to connect and bond over with someone because it builds a trust factor and sets a comfortability level. For a lot of these guys they feel poached, agents just want something from them and that is the case a lot of the time where these young men are seen as just cheques by some agents so if you can build that relationship and establish that synergy with them it will carry you for years and it’s rewarding when you have success with someone that you know has your back.” It’s only been 5 years since Joshua had started his career as a sports agent but the amount of people he’s come across and built connections with in those five years is extremely impressive. He has been able to not only expand his companies that he’s started but also his network, giving him the ability to continue to grow and prepare for a future, a bright future.
The bright future of Joshua Grady, Grady Sports Agency, Grady Media and The Agent Talk Podcast has been and will continue to be in the works as opportunities come. Right now, following the NCAA’s rule change where student athletes can now profit from their name, image and likeness Grady and his team at both GSA and Grady Media have been busy making sure that the athletes make the right decisions moving forward with their careers on and off of the football field while also preparing for what’s next. “The N.I.L is our main focus right now, we’re working with some athletes to help them grow their platform to benefit them not only for their university careers but also what comes after.” Joshua Grady said when asked about his future plans, “I want to continue to grow Grady Media. The majority of projects we’ve had have been with individuals such as athletes so I would like to market companies, brands, organizations, teams and have events for Grady Media that could get us more into the community because my main goal is to entrench ourselves into different places, cities and even countries with two of our guys playing in the CFL this year so this year I want to expand and sharpen what we are already doing while also having another successful NFL Draft next year.”
Touching on next year’s NFL Draft, what would be the 6th in Grady Sports Agency history he had also said, “We have a lot of momentum right now. I want to keep our draft class small so probably no more than 5 GSA players but we’ve got a good group that if they had to sign today would be big signings for us because we are about the quality over quantity. A quality 3 players would be perfect because we are shooting for a high pick this year. I don’t see why we can’t. I just want to continue to progress and that would be a huge progression for us and one I am excited about because I know the value we provide and there are not a lot of agencies as a whole that are doing what we’re doing.” Everything that both Joshua and his companies do they do it big, making it that much more exciting for all football fans to see what he as an up and coming agent can do to change the game. He’s already scratching the surface for changing how people think about marketing around athletes and it won’t be too long before he is a house hold name for not only football fans but sports fans in general with the sky being the limit for everything he does.