Jeremy Akers was an All-American offensive guard for Notre Dame in 1996. He played on the last Irish team to win a bowl game and spent time in the NFL and the now-defunct XFL and NFL Europe before retiring following the 2005 season. He also married former Notre Dame and current AVP Tour volleyball player Angie Harris (now Akers) and lives in Redondo Beach, Calif.
We caught up with Akers earlier today to find out what he's been doing. If you want us to track down former players and coaches to find out what they are up to, leave a comment below or drop us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Insights: What have you been doing since football ended?
Jeremy Akers: "Loving the beach, loving life, traveling with my wife. I'm actually involved in a variety of areas. My main business focus is basically I work with privately held businesses and real estate developers that are looking for investors in their projects and then I'll package up their idea whether it is the company itself or the project they are looking to find investments for and then I'll take it out to a group of equity investors and shop it around to different areas that I know that look to invest in these types of things and I'll help to facilitate the introduction between the two groups and basically see what happens from there. That's the main business focus.
"For fun, I'm also involved with the Screen Actors Guild here in (Los Angeles). I do a couple different things with the Screen Actors Guild. For one, if there is a football player on TV, in commercials that you see, generally I'm one of those guys."
Insights: So you're going into acting and doing extra work now?
JA: "I'd say extras stuff but it is sports specific. I do it relating to football so a lot of it would be considered background work but we aren't considered background people in that we're covered under that contract. When it comes to football we're not paid like background players, we're paid a little bit higher because when it comes to football, we're doing something that requires a specific skill. But the production companies, they work through a couple different guys and then there is a group of guys that are former NFL and college athletes. Unfortunately, a lot of them are USC guys but seriously they are a lot of really good people. They basically are a group of us living here in LA and the production companies call a few different folks and say we need a football team for this commercial and can you put that together. Those guys put the call out to us and say 'Can you be at the Rose Bowl or such-and-such a location.' Actually, tomorrow I'll be at the Rose Bowl at 6 a.m. doing a commercial for EBay.
"Over the course of the past couple months I've done two spots with Peyton Manning, something for ESPN, a thing with Reggie Bush. We've done two Nike commercials, one with LaDanian Tomlinson, Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates and another with Shawn Merriman and Stephen Jackson. It's a lot of fun but it is all with the Screen Actors Guild."
Insights: Have you seen yourself on camera yet?
JA: "Yeah. I've been a principle in quite a few commercials. I don't call it acting because there are people out there who are actors and are good at that kind of thing. For me, it is the fact that I'm a big guy and have a special skill. As far as myself goes, you can recognize me in different commercials, everything from EA Sports to Mastercard to Coors Light. There is a lot more than that but I can't think of it right now."
Insights: Getting back to what you do to pay the bills, what type of investments do you look for?
JA: "I consider there are two sides. On the real estate side of things, I get forwarded deals from a variety of sources, where a real estate developer needs an equity investor to help move a project forward. Speaking only on real estate, I'll take whatever project they are trying to do and go out and research as much as I can about the area where he is trying to do a specific build, be it a large scale residential development, a multi-use commercial type structure and that person might need a certain amount of cash before he get the commercial financing or standard financing. I'll generally turn around and meet with high net worth individuals who can be on projects for a couple years and they'll come in with equity ownership into that project and a new LLC is formed and that LLC, a joint venture between the developer and the investor, is the one that runs the project and ensures the profit from it.
"On the small business side of things, I don't necessarily look for one particular type of company but ones that have good management teams or a project in an underserved area and something that is going to be a little unique or something in the skill set of a management team that is really going to make something stand out. These projects come from a variety of referral sources. Sports agents, they are going to get people sending them business plans where they are like 'Can you get your athlete involved in this?' It's not the sports agent's business to do that and they don't want the liability of referring a project or an investment to a client that is highly speculative and with a certain amount of risk. Those guys might turn that project over to me and say this is the guy, why don't you follow up with him. That's how we progress. That's the gist of what I do right there."
Insights: Is there anything else you're involved in?
JA: "Actually, I do motion video capture work for video games. Most of the video games that are out there right now, I have not worked on EA Sports but everybody else out there, I'm the lineman in the video games. They have different guys for different things but I've worked in motion capture for Microsoft, Sony and a couple other companies that do some smaller football games. I do the lineman stuff and then they transform it to the linemen actions in the game. I never know what the final result of where my exact motions get put into the system because the contract is at the upper level but it is used in the different games. But I've done work with Microsoft and Sony."
-By Michael Rothstein of the Journal Gazette