Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Michigan State safety Darius Snow embraces NIL, love for graphic design

January 31, 2022
<p>Sophomore safety Darius Snow (23) tackles Penn State's junior running back Devyn Ford (28) in MSU's match against the Nittany Lions at Spartan Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.</p>

Sophomore safety Darius Snow (23) tackles Penn State's junior running back Devyn Ford (28) in MSU's match against the Nittany Lions at Spartan Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.

Photo by Chloe Trofatter | The State News

College sports have entered a new era.

Sophomore safety Darius Snow is one of many college athletes that has taken advantage of the new NCAA Name, Image, and Likeness, or NIL, rules that allow players to profit off their name, image and likeness.

Because of these rules, Snow has been able to branch out and find opportunities to pursue his dream of graphic design while building meaningful connections and profiting from his work. Snow partnered with Michigan State alumnus Steve Keller in 2021 to create a clothing brand called "The Dawg Outlet" that sells MSU football apparel with Snow’s own designs. 

“It’s a way for me to use design and kind of connect with fans and those who support myself and the school,” Snow said. “It’s come a long way and it’s doing really well. I’m excited about it.”

One of the items sold is the “Darius Snow Storm Hoodie,” which includes his personal logo he designed and is his favorite item sold by the clothing brand.

“The first thing I’ve ever made was my logo,” Snow said. “It’s come a long way, but I revamped it not too long ago and it’s cleaner. It’s actually my (avatar) on Twitter. That personal logo is probably my favorite thing I've made.”

Snow isn't just doing it for himself either. Snow has been working with MSU's graphics team to create photos for social media and more for the team. In the Tucker era, social media is key and Snow is helping develop that on his own.

"The Dawg Outlet'' and MSU football graphics aren't the only things he’s working on. He recently took to Twitter to tease an endorsement deal with a snow cone company. Although Snow couldn’t reveal many details about the deal, Darien Harris, the Director of Player Engagement for MSU football, is excited about it and proud of Snow’s work.

“I think it’s awesome,” Harris said. “He came to me and was pretty excited about that. ... From what I saw he leveraged social media which is what you’re supposed to do. ... I was really proud of him for utilizing the education that we’ve given him and given the students athletes to parlay that into a pretty sweet NIL deal.”

Thanks to the education provided by Harris, players like Snow are prepared to enter and thrive in this new world of college sports that provides athletes with opportunities previously not available to them.

“I’d say that the NIL has provided opportunities that I don’t think I would have gotten without it,” Snow said. “Me being able to play football and do well and then be able to use that name that I’ve brought up through football and just being myself and the connections I’ve made. I think that’s probably the biggest thing that was brought forth is the ability to make connections that’ll benefit me down the line.”

He's also learned a lot about making meaningful connections with people from his dad, former MSU guard Eric Snow.

“Something my dad's really preached to me is to always respect everybody, always try to learn something from everybody you speak to because you never know what that person may end up being,” Snow said. “You never know how you may come across later in the future.”

Snow has used all the tools around him to become a model student when it comes to growing a brand and creating career opportunities for himself.

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“He’s doing an unbelievable job of taking advantage of the entire all encompassing crux of NIL,” Harris said. “It’s not just about social media endorsements and advertisements and being in commercials and stuff like that. It’s also about the fact that you can own a business and explore other avenues of revenue based on your skill set and that’s exactly what Darius is doing.”

After college, Snow hopes to continue building on the skills he’s been able to develop on and off the field. He looks to continue pursuing his two passions: football and graphic design.

“What I’m doing now is I am playing and I’m also designing for our creative team,” Snow said. “I’d like to keep playing and go to an NFL team and do the same thing with their design team. Then I’d like to do that for a while and then retire, save money and just do it the right way, retire and raise my kids while I’m doing design, not because I have to just because I want to. I can definitely say that design will be a part of my life, the rest of my life.”

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