Bob is a longtime member of the Florida sports media, having served as a reporter and copy editor for more than 30 years. His true sports passion, however, is the history of the various games, exhibited by his in-depth book reviews and hobby of collecting cards and other sports memorabilia. He blogs for TBO.com on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.
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Panini signs WVa. QB Geno Smith to deal
Posted Feb 1, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo
Updated Mar 27, 2013 at 09:19 PM
Panini America announced Friday that it had reached an autograph and trading card agreement with former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith for the 2013 NFL season. It’s Smith’s first officially licensed deal, and his cards will debut in May in Panini’s Score Football product.
Smith tweeted his agreement earlier Friday, noting that he was “Amped to announce partnership w/ @PaniniAmericalooking forward to my first rookie card!”
In addition to the card deal, Smith also will be featured on product packaging and in social media opportunities throughout the length of the deal.
Smith played high school football in South Florida and led Miramar High School to an 11-3 mark his senior season. At West Virginia, Smith played four years and had a banner season in 2012, throwing for 4,205 yards and 42 touchdowns. In his college career, he threw for 11,662 yards and 98 touchdowns.
He also took a page out of the playbook of his cousin, former University of Miami running back Melvin Bratton, by rushing for a pair of touchdowns and 151 yards his senior season with the Mountaineers.
Smith has been projected as a first-round draft pick, and some have touted him as a possible No. 1 overall pick. The Kansas City Chiefs own that draft spot after a 2-14 mark. Will the Chiefs pick Smith? We will find out on April 25.
Naturally, Panini executives were happy to announce the signing.
“Geno Smith is an incredibly talented young player blessed with the kind of otherworldly skill set that sports fans and football card collectors alike absolutely love,” Panini America CEO Mark Warsop said in a news release. “Our unique partnership with him will help us deliver the most sought after rookie cards and autographs of one of the most sought after players in the entire 2013 rookie class — all season long.”