Premier Players give corporations access to some of the best athletes in the world for their events. Whether it’s for motivational speaking, autograph signings or just an appearance, athletes add more excitement to any functions. Below are just a few of our speakers. Please click here to help us find the right athlete for your event.
While football was a focal point for Will Allen at Ohio State, it was during his college days that he first realized that there was more to his role in life than just being a football player.
The Buckeyes won the 2002 national championship – rolling to a perfect 14-0 record in the process – with Allen sealing two of the wins (including the rivalry spat with Michigan) with game ending interceptions. It was the interception of Wolverines quarterback John Navarre to preserve the Buckeyes win that Allen is best remembered for in Columbus.
Allen went on to have a 12-year career in the NFL, where he played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Dallas Cowboys, racking up 409 tackles and seven interceptions from his safety spot.
That lesson from 2002 stuck with Allen however, with head coach Jim Tressel providing leadership that went far beyond the whiteboard where he diagramed defensive plays. Tressel’s coaching methods –and specifically his man management techniques – allowed the players to bond with each other, acting as mentors for the community as a whole by visiting hospital patients and taking part in other forms of community service.
Knowing the difference he could make led Allen to create The Will Allen Foundation in 2008. The goal of the foundation is to inspire young people to be the best they can be, influencing the lives of friends and family around them with their positive actions. Providing a level playing field in places such as Dayton, Ohio and Tampa, Florida, Allen’s foundation continues to have a massive impact on those communities.
If you want the picture perfect, All-American American, NFL story, then Tyrone Williams’ story is not the one for you. If, however, you want a real athlete who has seen the highs, and the lows, of fame and fortune afforded to a man by his athletic talent, then Williams’ trials and tribulations are both a cautionary tale and a redemption story.
Williams was a big part of the Nebraska dynasty of the mid-to-late 1990s. He won a pair of National Championship Titles with the Cornhuskers in 1994 and 1995, before being drafted in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers, led by the arm of Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, were one of the dream franchises to be drafted by at this time, with Williams going on to win the Super Bowl as a rookie in 1996 and starting another in 1997. For his career, Williams had 19 interceptions for 274 return yards with two return touchdowns.
Stints with the Atlanta Falcons (2003) and Dallas Cowboys (2004) after his Packers career had ended after seven seasons didn’t exactly pan out how Williams would have liked, but given some of the other experiences in his life by that point football was something of a secondary concern.
Williams found his way into trouble while at Nebraska and in 1997 he served four months in jail in the state as a result of a third-degree assault charge linked back to an incident from 1994. Other brushes with the law have included the type of domestic disturbance that Williams now works with NFL rookies and other players to actively try to avoid, teaching and sharing his experiences to help others learn and be more prepared for their futures.
There is a reason why Santia Deck is known as the Queen of Abs. All you need to do is look at the fitness model’s sculpted torso to understand why the name is so fitting.
Deck, though, is much more than just a fitness model. She has dedicated her life to her passions, creating a resume unlike any other you will see and rocking a story loaded with successes which prove that to her failure has never been an answer.
The certified personal trainer was born in Greenville, South Carolina and raised in Houston, Texas. Understanding that the world was changing around her and that the growing reach of social media was ever increasing, Deck was quick to turn to the socials as a way to promote herself and her career. Deck has amassed over 250,000 followers on Instagram, using her sense of business and a keen eye for creating content that people want to see to push her brand forward.
Her 2012 online workout program that has helped thousands around the world lose body fat and tone up is proof that Deck isn’t just in this to make money. She is also a published author, a TV personality after an episode on Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Ranch, football (LFL) and rugby player (USA).
With all this in her life, it is amazing Deck can even find time for public speaking, let alone be so good at it. Her workshops and events are geared towards women and children specifically, but they will benefit anyone who is looking for increases in their health, their confidence, and their determination to succeed in life.
Punters and kickers seem to be the most transient players in the NFL, with their careers and ability to stick in the league relying as much on their resolve and ability to impress in tryouts as their actual production on the field. That is why Tommy Barnhardt has so many stories and so much life experience when it comes to moving from city to city for work.
Barnhardt stayed in-state for his college days, with the China Grove, North Carolina, product choosing to play for the North Carolina Tar Heels. A surprising athlete for a punter, the 6-foot-2, 228-pounder, was successful enough in college to be drafted with the 223rd pick of the 1986 NFL Draft. While that might not sound all that impressive, it is worth noting that when Barnhardt was taken in the ninth round, there had only been two other punters taken before him.
While neither of those specialists went on to play in more than 20 career NFL games, Barnhardt’s kicking skills saw him play in 186 NFL games for five different franchises over the course of 14 seasons. Barnhardt is one of those rare players to play in three decades, making his first NFL punt in 1987 and his last for the Washington Redskins in 2000.
Barnhardt also made an interesting discovery as he journeyed around the NFL. While playing for the Bucs in the mid-90s, Barnhardt often got light-headed and dizzy. Initially thinking that this was a result of the humidity, it was discovered that the punter is actually hypoglycemic, a finding that changed Barnhardt’s diet, his routines, and which extended his career.
Kenny Kelly was one of those high school athletes that was seemingly good at everything he put his mind and talents towards.
The Plant City, Florida, native attended and starred at Tampa Catholic High School, where he was a letterman in football, basketball, baseball, and track. It was on the gridiron where Kelly seemed to excel most during his prep years, finishing his high school career with a stunning 7,486 yards passing and 77 passing touchdowns.
The PARADE All-American took a scholarship at the University of Miami where he continued his progression in both sports. He would play the fall of every year with the Hurricanes football team, before playing in the spring with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (at the time) in their farm system. Kelly had been a second round pick for the Rays directly out of high school.
Eventually the grind of playing two sports at that level took its toll, with Kelly deciding a future in the Major Leagues was the way to go. Perhaps this long period of flirting with two sports cost Kelly a legitimate chance to be a professional star in either one, but he spent many years playing AAA ball on the cusp of an MLB call up, while playing parts of the 2000 season (Tampa Bay) and the 2005 season (Cincinnati and Washington) in the big leagues.
After his professional sports career came to a close, Kelly has continued to excel wherever he has put his attention. He has given back to the community by taking part in the programs of various nonprofits, along with having a successful coaching stint back where it all began. He now coaches baseball at Florida International.
It is not hyperbole to say that Errict Rhett is one of the best players in the history to wear the orange and blue of the Florida Gators.
Rhett remains the only player in school history to lead the team in all-purpose and rushing yards for four-straight seasons, a record that is going to be difficult to break given how hard it is to find the field as a freshman and then stay for all four years of a college career.
Rhett was the key weapon for Florida as the Gators won SEC Championships in 1991 and 1993, being named an All-SEC player in both of those seasons and a First-Team All-American in 1993. Rhett also holds the distinction of being the player to break Emmitt Smith’s rushing record at Florida, finishing his career with 4,163 yards and 34 touchdowns on the ground while adding another 1,230 yards and two touchdowns through the air.
As the No. 34 overall pick in the 1994 NFL Draft, much was expected of Rhett as a pro. He was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – and obvious choice given his Florida connections – and he immediately starred. Rhett was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year when rushing for 1,011 yards and seven touchdowns, looking even better as a sophomore in the league when he scampered for 1,207 yards and 11 scores.
Holding out for more money at the beginning of the 1996 season, Rhett’s 94-day stance became the textbook example of a holdout gone bad. He never regained the trust of the brass in Tampa and was shipped out to Baltimore and then Cleveland, never matching the numbers he had at the start of his career.
The ups and downs of Rhett’s football journey are just part of his story, but they are an example of how one decision can change everything one way or the other.
Eric Vance is a player who had to scrap and work to make his NFL dreams come true.
The Tampa native played his college football in Tennessee for Vanderbilt, a school that is not exactly known for churning out high end NFL products compared to the rest of the colleges in the SEC. Vance played for three years with the Commodores, with his best season coming in 1994 as a sophomore when he grabbed a pair of interceptions from his position in the secondary.
Vance was not selected in the 1997 NFL Draft, with his college production not being quite at the level which general managers were looking for when adding to their roster. Vance, though, was determined not to give up and accepted an invite to rookie minicamp with the Carolina Panthers as a priority undrafted free agent.
There are typically hundreds of players invited to these camps in the offseason, with only a handful of those players ever finding their way onto an NFL roster, let alone onto the field to contribute in any meaningful way. Vance made the Panthers roster in 1997, before spending four years with his hometown Bucs (1998-2001) and finishing his NFL playing journey with the Indianapolis Colts in 2002.
Vance’s best two NFL years were in 2000 and 2001 when he appeared in 14 and 10 games respectively. Perhaps unsurprisingly for a player so obviously in love with the game of football, Vance has spent his post player career involved in administration and coaching at the professional, collegiate, and high school levels.
King is a man with deep ties to Florida.
A graduate of Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg, King stepped out of state to play football at Tulane in Louisiana. He starred with the Green Wave from 1995 to 1998, leading Tulane to an undefeated season in 1998, going 12-0 with a win over BYU in the Liberty Bowl to cap off the only zero loss season in school history.
That year, King set an FBS record for passing efficiency with a 183.3 rating. He also became the first player in the history of college football to pass for 300 yards and rush for 100 yards in the same game. King finished 10th in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1998, throwing for 3,495 yards, 38 touchdowns, and six interceptions, while adding 633 yards and 11 scores on the ground. This was yet another year when a player from a traditionally smaller school made a mockery of the Heisman by falling so low in the voting.
King was selected in the middle of the second round of the 1999 NFL Draft when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers used the 50th overall pick to choose the Tulane product. His break in the league came early – perhaps too early – when Trent Dilfer went down with an injury in the middle of King’s rookie year and was lost for the season. The Bucs rallied under King, winning the NFC Central before losing 11-6 to the St. Louis Rams in the NFC Championship game.
King showed signs of progression when he kept the Bucs job for the 2000 season. Starting all 16 games, he led the team back to the playoffs with a 10-6 record and contributing 23 total touchdowns. King was replaced by Brad Johnson for the 2011 season, killing his development and relegating him to journeyman status just three years into his career.
King now shares his knowledge of the game as a coach with the USF Bulls.
Jerry Wunsch is a Wisconsin transplant who found a home in Tampa in a community that he loves to give back to. Born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Wunsch remained in his home state to play college ball in Madison with the Wisconsin Badgers. The offensive tackle excelled in the Big Ten using his 6-foot-6, 339 pound frame to protect his quarterback and provide a massive presence in the running game. Wisconsin is a school known for offensive line play and Wunsch is one of the best to ever pull on a Badgers jersey.
That high level of play in college saw Wunsch selected in the 1997 NFL Draft. The Buccaneers used a high-second round pick (No. 37 overall) for the rights to a player that they thought could lockdown that side of the offensive line for the next half of a decade. Wunsch had a steady, if not completely spectacular (he was an offensive lineman after all), career in the NFL playing five years with the Bucs and then a another four years with the Seahawks before retiring in 2005. He played in 113 games, making 51 starts, and picking up a pair of fumble recoveries along the way.
Wunsch has always been a man who is much more than just a football player. While playing professionally in Florida and in the Pacific Northwest, he still found time to get back to Wisconsin where he actively volunteered on numerous projects for the betterment of the community. Upon retiring, Wunsch moved back to the Tampa Bay area to work with the Wunsch Family Foundation, a charity that works with children who have cancer and other chronic blood disorders.