Football player by day, creative by night; Rodney Owens’ interest in media grows with startup “Raw Visionary”

The University of Memphis Tigers’ defensive back Rodney Owens is in his fourth season with the Tigers. Over the last three seasons he made a total 134 tackles, 16 pass breakups, 8 tackles for loss, 5 interceptions, 4 sacks and one force fumble. He came into Memphis from Iowa Western Community College in 2019 and has had quite the journey leading up to this final season of college football, but the journey is not over for Owens.

The 23 year old Nashville, Tennessee native could very well crack his way into the NFL after this season, and if he does he will reach his next goal as a football player, but it will also open up a great window to something he wants to do off of the football field.

Outside of playing defensive back for the University of Memphis, Rodney Owens is a very creative mind, and he always has been. Even going back before his days at Louisville, and Iowa Western, he remembers taking photos of cars as a kid. It was a hobby of his, and something he found cool, but now as he has reached higher levels of football he has realized that it could very well become more than just a hobby later down the road. He is interested in making a career for himself in the media space, and no, he doesn’t want to just do it when he is done playing football, but he is on his way to start his career as a creative now, while he is playing at the University of Memphis.

Owens has started up his own multimedia platform “Raw Visionary Entertainment” ink collaboration with his brothers Malik and Rashad who also play football at the NCAA level, Malik is a receiver at Eastern Kentucky, and Rashad is a defensive back at Lindsey Wilson College. The platform is just in the mix of being launched officially, however with interest in all kinds of media from photography to written blogs, to even sit down interviews and highlight tapes, you can expect a lot from Owens and his company in the future.

Rodney Owens taking photos at University of Memphis Women’s Soccer game

On Thursday night he was with JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic and Landon Persigner of Memphis Football taking photos at the University of Memphis Women’s Soccer game and had a fantastic time, remembering why he wanted to get into the media field again. Be on the lookout for some Rodney Owens content coming soon, and creatives out there, beware, your jobs are on the line.

Onto the next; Memphis vs North Texas highlights, Tigers prepare for Temple

The University of Memphis Football team is on a three game winning streak. Coming off of wins against Navy, Arkansas State, and North Texas they look to improve to 4-1 with a win over the Temple Owls.

Watch JZ Media’s reel from the win over North Texas and watch as they take on the Owls on Saturday morning.

“Get Money Inc.” the mindset and brand behind Memphis’ Greg Rubin

On game-day at the Liberty Bowl, up to 58,325 fans sit and watch the University of Memphis Tigers on the gridiron. Each play the fans watch and cheer on 11 Tigers as they go head to head with 11 players from the opposing team. Some wear jerseys to show their support, some make signs, some even make donations to the football program and now with the new name, image and likeness rules fans are also able to support players directly with their own brands.

Photo by JZ

One player at the University of Memphis that has created a brand is defensive back, number 24 Greg Rubin.

Rubin, cousin of famous rapper NLE Choppa, originally from Memphis, Tennessee is playing on his hometown team, and has made a name for himself with the Tigers early on in his career. As a true freshman with the Tigers in 2021 he made 59 total tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and broke up 14 passes. Coming off of a good game against North Texas where he made 6 tackles and broke up a pass, he’s ready to showcase his talents against the Temple Owls on Saturday at Simmons Bank Stadium (aka The Liberty Bowl), but not only will he be showing fans his abilities on the field but he will also be putting his brand on display as well, that brand being, “Get Money Inc.”

“Get Money Inc.” is Greg Rubin’s clothing brand. It is just getting started, so you don’t see it all over Memphis just yet, however don’t be surprised when you do. When asked about the brand, he told JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic, “G.M.I is my brand, Get Money Incorporated. I’m just getting everything in the works, you can expect it real soon. It’s a mindset brand. It means, really, just hustle. Going and go get it.”

As Rubin continues to excel on and off of the football field, you will continue to see his growth, and his brand’s growth in Memphis. This is really just the beginning of it all, and it will be something special.

A JZ Media day in the life with highly touted Sterling Dixon of Mobile Christian

At Mobile Christian School in Mobile, Alabama coach Ronnie Cottrell has a special team. He has a group of young student athletes that not only have the ability to play football at the next level, but he has a team filled with athletes talented past just the game of football. One player, and a perfect example at Mobile Christian is class of 2024 edge rusher and linebacker. Yes, he may be the perfect football player, having been offered by 30-plus division one programs, but he is also a great student, and citizen off of the football field. Being offered by some of the top programs in the country like Alabama, LSU, and Auburn could get to a player’s head, but for Dixon, he has stayed humble throughout the process and not only has he become a better football player to be able to play at the next level but he’s consistently improving in the class room and has levelled up in life as well.

In the video seen above you can see Sterling Dixon go through his routine on gameday, and see exactly the kind of person and football player he is, and how he goes about his day on gameday.

Watch the video, and keep tabs on Sterling Dixon as he continues his journey to the NFL from Mobile, Alabama.

“It helped me focus on whats in front of me.” Tigers’ Eddie Lewis on his Journey to the University of Memphis

There are over 100 football players on the University of Memphis Tigers’ football team. Over 100 football players are in the locker room at the University of Memphis’ Billy J. Murphy Athletic Complex, and each one of them took a different path to be in the position they are in today. Tigers’ wide receiver Eddie Lewis took a much different path to be here in Memphis, but without the path taken, Lewis wouldn’t be the same player and person he is today.

Lewis’ path began in Harlem, New York where he started playing football at a young age, around 5 years old. He was introduced to the game of football through a close friend, and after making a big play, a 90-plus yard touchdown in just his first game ever, it was clear football was going to play a big role in his life. Talking about that first game, Lewis told Jordan Zlomislic and Tyler Sumpter in the Psychletes interview, “I got smacked early. Knocked out and then the following drive I got the ball and took it for like 99 and from then it was over It was literally over. Thats when I knew I could do this, when I knew I could hit people and score touchdowns.”

From there, his next major stop came at Mater Dei High School in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Over there and at Milford Academy where he also attended secondary school he set goals for himself to one be a division one football player.

That goal, alongside other small goals set by Eddie Lewis were achieved once he was offered by schools and signed to play at Rutgers University.

At Rutgers Lewis appeared in 16 games in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, hauling in a total 30 receptions for 209 yards and a score. Statistically, things didn’t look too bad for Eddie Lewis. Some would say his stats were average for the role he had with the Scarlett Knights, however Lewis wasn’t, and still isn’t striving to be just average. He’s striving to be great, and his aspirations of being great, although it may seem like a downgrade, sent him to a junior college in Kansas for the 2020 season.

He attended Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas for one year and got back in his groove, catching 23 passes for 513 yards and 4 touchdowns in just 6 games, putting himself back into division one play with the University of Memphis for the 2021 season.

To get to this situation, it took a lot of stops. Lewis went through a lot of adversity, and he is continuing to fight his way to be where he wants to be. Now though, it has become easier to make plays, and easier to be at the level he is at, not because the football is easy, but because he has improved, on and off of the field. When asked about his journey, and if it has indeed helped him get better, Eddie Lewis said, “It definitely does.” and explained, “It gives you the sense of awareness to be able to step back, take a deep breath and see everything that’s in front of you and understand sometimes you may have to slow down, sometimes you have to just take a step back and understand what it is you’ve got and put your thoughts in order, put your plans in order. Maneuver, do everything you’ve got to do. People have a lot of stuff going on that you just don’t know about.” 

With the Tigers, playing alongside Calvin Austin III, Sean Dykes and Javon Ivory, Lewis gained 349 yards, scored 4 touchdowns and had the team long, 75 yard catch with just 22 receptions. With Calvin Austin III now in the NFL, and Sean Dykes gone too, the 2022 season for Eddie Lewis has come down to be a big year thus far. 4 games into the season, the receiver has caught 12 passes for 168 yards and a score while also adding 51 return yards to his totals.

The season has really just begun, and the numbers he’s put up thus far are only growing, putting finishing touches on the amazing story he has to tell for himself. Lewis’ story has both ups and downs, he’s had the good, the bad, and the in between over his career, and has only learnt more from it all. He said, “Most of it (life problems) are self -inflicted. We blame other people a lot for our problems but it really isn’t anyone’s (fault) but your own. God put us on the earth for a reason, everybody’s got a talent, you just got to find out what you’re talented in and when you find out you run with it. If you choose to run with it, when you run with it, don’t look back.”

And opening up more on his own path to Memphis, and his mental struggles throughout the process Lewis told Zlomislic of JZ Media, “I can’t tell you there weren’t any struggles. What I would say about my struggles though would be that I learnt that it was all on me, that I was really the one putting myself in those situations, like being a football player you don’t really have much of an obligation, we go to school and play football, all the other outside stuff you got to learn how to manage it. Once you know how to manage that, your life will become easier, things will get simpler.” But at the end of the day, “Just taking it day by day, I’ve got to win each day at a time.”

“I’m enjoying the process.” London, England’s Seydou Traore and his journey to division one football

In 2022 there are several paths you can take to play division one football in the NCAA. Although it isn’t a common path taken for most players, Seydou Traore’s path from London, England to Arkansas State is an interesting one and makes up of a good story.

Traore began playing football in England, at a later age than most football players, around 15, 16 years old, beginning with flag football and only getting a taste for 11 on 11 tackle football for the first time in America when he played with the Clearwater Academy International Knights. When asked about the move to the United States he told JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic, “it was an experience.” and explained, “I wasn’t scared because of the fact it was a new country, or I’ve never been there. I knew what I wanted to do, and why I was going there. I knew the dreams I wanted pursue and thats where I could make them come true, so I looked at it as an opportunity.”

While in Clearwater, Traore was featured on Under The Radar, and in that feature he was asked why he came to the United States. Why he decided to come play football in a different country. His answer: “I’m trying to earn a D-1 scholarship.”

Earning a division one scholarship is something he was able to do while at Clearwater Academy International. In fact, he was able to secure multiple offers, the first coming from Southeastern Louisiana. “Getting that offer, and the other offers I got, don’t get me wrong I was happy but I knew it was coming.” He told Zlomislic, “When I was getting offers I was extremely happy, but I was in America to get those offers so I was also like, ‘I should have gotten that one’ or ‘I knew that was going to happen’.”

The offer he accepted and the school he eventually signed to was Arkansas State University.

Arkansas State University, and the Red Wolves play in Jonesboro, Arkansas, which may sound like a long way from home for Seydou Traore coming from London, England, but its quickly became home for him. Now in his second season with the Red Wolves, just four games into the season he has caught 16 passes for 231 yards and two scores. He scored his first career touchdown in his sophomore season debut, made a spectacular catch against Ohio State in week two, had 120 yards and a score against Memphis in week 3 and had a career high 7 catches in week 4 against Old Dominion. Clearly in for a big season, Traore has just begun his career at the division one level and has big aspirations, past just the NFL.

To learn more about Seydou Traore and to checkout some of the pieces he and Jordan Zlomislic were able to collaborate on at Arkansas State University.

JZ Media’s Gameday Vlog with Redblacks’ running back Devonte Williams

On a day where Ottawa Redblacks running back Devonte Williams ran for 80 yards on 14 carries and caught 6 passes for 30 yards, gaining an all purpose 110 scrimmage yards in a matchup against the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL, Jordan Zlomislic of JZ Media followed him around for a JZ Media Gameday Vlog.

The video lets fans into the life of number 31 for the Ottawa Redblacks on a CFL gameday, from the morning of the game, to shopping for a gameday fit, all the way through the game itself.

Tune in to the JZ Media game-day vlog now on YouTube and stay tuned for more related content.

Dandridge, Redblacks “ready to go on a run.”

The 2022 CFL season has been extremely entertaining, from what Nathan Rourke has been able to accomplish with the B.C Lions this season in his young CFL career to the outstanding play of Canadian pass catchers like Kurleigh Gittens Jr, Kian Schaffer-Baker and Nate Behar to the tight race in the East division, there are so many storylines across the league that deserve attention, one being the rise of the Ottawa Redblacks as well.

They started the season 0-6, and it looked like the season was a write off. The talk around town was regarding the future of the franchise, what the team would look like next year, and more, but after a road win in Toronto, followed by two more wins, one against Edmonton and another against Montreal, the Redblacks sit at 3-8 in what looks to be a great situation to be in. Receiver Shaq Johnson told JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic, “This is the kind of position that coaches and players want to be in. This is why coaches say its a long season. You have to trust the process, and love the process. It may get boring, but you have to be comfortable with being bored and you can’t get bored of being great everyday. Everyday you have to attack and be great, especially when you’re in a situation like this where you can control what happens, it feels great to be here.”

Being in a situation, at 3-8, with the opportunity and ability to continue to move up in the standings, and really a chance to make the playoffs as well requires positive energy. A player who is able to pump the team with positive energy is Shaq Johnson. Each and every day at TD Place you can catch number 88 with a big smile on his face, not only showing that he wants to have fun and be great but he wants those around him to as well. Talking about the positive energy he said, “it relates to the standpoint of how do you plan to attack your day,” explaining, “somedays, and don’t get me wrong I’m not perfect, some days I don’t have the same energy, sometimes I have low energy, but I have the mindset to stay positive and I feel like its just who I am to have positive energy, even when times are tough. It helps me get through tough times and it even gets me through the positives too. It really helps me to stay positive and have positive energy, and I think the guys around me enjoy it too. Whether its seeing my smile, hear me laugh or listen to the wild stuff I say, I hope to put a smile on their faces if they are having a bad day because its important to have good energy.”

Playing alongside Johnson at receiver are both Darvin Adams and Ryan Davis as well as DeVonte Dedmon. Dedmon comes back to Ottawa after a training camp in the NFL, like Brandin Dandridge. Coming into the new locker room this season, Dedmon saw the new energy. “Its new.” he said, “I see a lot of new faces, guys that were in other places last year, and I’m really happy to be a part of the group. I’m excited to be back.” Dandridge is equally excited. Heading into his first game back at TD Place he says, “this was my firs professional opportunity. I can’t wait to play in front of R-Nation again.”

Receiver Ryan Davis says the energy is flowing heading into Saturday’s game against Toronto. With Dedmon and Dandridge coming back to TD Place and being on a 2 game winning streak he said, “we’re coming together, and we’re getting better. The energy is here, and we are growing as a team. It’s going to be exciting this week.”

Now if Ottawa wins this week, that would be three straight wins for the Redblacks, bringing them to 4-8, and with a Montreal loss that would put the Redblacks at second place in the east, giving them true playoff hopes.

Going on a run like that to finish the season is exactly why people love the game of football, the excitement. Dandridge is ready to go on the run, and is, “excited to be a part of it.”