Chris Maragos intercepts a ball in overtime versus Fresno State. The former UW safety has been busy lately, signing an agent and finding a personal trainer.[/media-credit]

As he works to improve his draft status before the 2010 NFL Draft next month, Chris Maragos has more on his plate than just balancing training, watching film and his personal life. An important part of the process for any athlete looking to be selected in April’s draft is signing an agent and working with a personal trainer.

Many NFL Draft hopefuls will go all over the country in hopes of improving their chances of being drafted. For the former UW free safety, location played a big part as well. Not because he wanted to go to a warmer location, but because he had the desire to be close to home in order to finish his degree, spend time with family and plan his April 9 wedding.

As a part of its series focusing on Maragos’ preparation for a potential professional football career, The Badger Herald sat down with the former UW free safety to talk about some of the more business-related aspects of his work toward the NFL.

Below is part four of an eight-part series:

Badger Herald: When you returned from the Champs Sports Bowl in Florida, you signed with an agent. Who did you sign with and why?

Chris Maragos: I signed with Tim Valentine and Scott Smith. They’re actually the same agents that represent Jim Leonhard. They’re with X-A-M Sports based out of Madison here.

BH: How did you decide to sign with them? Was it because of Jimmy’s influence, or were they just the best option available to you at the time?

CM: You know, the agent process is kind of crazy because you’ve got guys all over, and you’ve got different agents telling you this, that and the next thing. So you’ve really got to go with a guy that you feel comfortable with, and a guy that you feel is going to actually push for you, work hard for you and really give you the best opportunities to succeed.

You want a guy that’s really going to represent you well, and a guy that represents you that’s like you. So, Scott and Tim were those guys for me. They really do a great job at what they do with the players they represent. As well as Jimmy, they also represent several other former Wisconsin guys like Brooks Bollinger, Alex Lewis and Taylor Mehlhaff.

BH: Is it just the two of them, or do they have other people working at X-A-M Sports? And do you know what X-A-M stands for?

CM: Scott and Tim are the two main agents, but they also have a few others working with them. Primarily, I deal with those two and Shawn Smith, who is Scott’s wife. Tim Valentine and Scott Smith are partners and then Shawn Smith deals with all the media and advertisement stuff.

The name, X-A-M actually stands for Scott and Shawn’s son’s name. X-A-M is Max backwards. So that’s how they came up with that I guess.

BH: So, how has everything been working out for you with them over the last two months?

CM: It’s been good. I think they’ve really done everything they can to market me the right way and to really make teams aware of my situation and the type of guy I am and everything.

We’ve been getting good feedback, and things have been good overall in terms of what we’ve been hearing from a lot of teams.

I think Pro Day on Wednesday is going to speak for itself in terms of if we’re going to keep taking steps forward with certain teams or not. You either make yourself better or you lay an egg and your stock goes down.

So, Pro Day is definitely going to be a big day for me. From there, then things will be set in motion a lot more.

BH: How often to you communicate with either Tim, Scott or Shawn on a weekly basis? And what exactly do they do for you in terms of marketing?

CM: The biggest thing is, Scott tries to set up visits with teams or individual workouts that will come after Pro Day. They set all that kind of stuff up. Also, they helped set up and cover all the training expenses, and they were kind of the go between for me and the trainer initially. In general, they’re kind of just the middle man that ties all the loose ends together.

I’d probably say I talk to them at least five times a week. Just about every day, and if not, every other day for sure.

BH: So, if they’re covering the cost, was it their decision for you to work out in Milwaukee?

CM: They really gave me the option on where I wanted to work out. They send guys down to Florida, they send guys to California — it’s really about a preference on where guys feel comfortable with where they want to train. It was kind of my idea to go train in Milwaukee with Brad Arnett at Next Level.

Brad’s a great guy and a great trainer, and I really feel that he’s put me in a great position to have success. Thanks to him, I’m really looking forward to going out there and showcasing what I can do at Pro Day.

BH: What was it about Brad that really made you want to work out with him?

CM: I think it was because I’m real close with DeAndre Levy. And he trained there with Brad, Brian Calhoun trained there and J.J. Watt trained there in high school. So, I just heard really good things about him, and I knew I wanted to be kind of closer to home to plan for the wedding.

Brad was obviously the best trainer around the Milwaukee area and really a great fit for me. He’s really done a great job, as well as the UW strength coaches.

They do a phenomenal job too, and there’s no drop off either way with Brad or the UW coaches. But with where I was going to be living in Racine, the Milwaukee location worked a little bit better for me.