Blake Baratz and The Institute for Athletes recently signed both Stevie Brown (defensive back for the Indianapolis Colts) and Greg Mathews (wide receiver for the St. Louis Rams). Both athletes had been represented by Harold Lewis of National Sports Agency.
When I spoke to Baratz in January 2011, I noted that he had experienced success recruiting players out of Wisconsin. I asked how he was able to get such a strong grasp on the school. His response was,
“It all starts with one player. You get one player, you do a great job for him and his family and they refer you to someone else. The thing that I am most proud of as President of The Institute for Athletes is the fact that we only work off of referrals. This is extremely rare in this business. We have built this business with 100% referrals. No Runners, No recruiters, No Facebook, No cold calls, No Website. Strictly referrals. I think that in and of itself is a testament to what a great job we are doing for these players and their respective families.”
Baratz is trying to take his formula for success from Wisconsin and make it work with the signing of players in Michigan. Stevie Brown was a 7th round pick in 2010 from Michigan and Mathews was an undrafted player in 2010 out of the same school. The Institute for Athletes looks to continue to build its Michigan presence beyond the signing of Brown and Mathews. I have a feeling that the company will be successful in its effort.