Cooper football star Jaxon Howard signs NIL deal with Blake Baratz, Team IFA

Robbinsdale Cooper football star Jaxon Howard made it official earlier this summer that he’ll attend college at LSU to play for Brian Kelly.

Tuesday, he became one of the first Minnesota high school athletes to sign a name, image and likeness deal with a local sports agency. Howard announced he has signed an endorsement deal with Team Institute for Athletes (IFA) and Blake Baratz. The popular Twin Cities agent currently represents several NFL athletes, including Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen, fullback C.J. Ham and former Gophers’ stars Rashod Bateman and Tyler Johnson.

"I am thrilled to announce that I’m officially a member of the Team IFA family! With the guidance of the hometown agency, I look forward to developing and growing my personal brand, as well as leaving a mark on my community! I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together!" Howard posted to social media.

"Welcome to the Team IFA family. You represent the core characteristics that perfectly align with our mission. You’re following a number of other great athletes that understood the bigger mission. Now you will lead the next generation of great athletes that are better people," Baratz tweeted.

Name, image and likeness is coming to the forefront in sports, both at the college and high school level, as athletes try to make a profit through sponsorships, endorsements, autograph signings and public appearances. Back in June, Edina goalkeeper Bayliss Flynn, a senior-to-be and captain for the Hornets, became the first Minnesota high school athlete to sign an endorsement deal. She’s working with TruStone Financial Credit Union, and is the face of their new credit card as they aim to teach financial literacy and education to high school students.

Howard, the No. 1 senior in Minnesota and ranked No. 117 nationally by 247Sports, had a final four of LSU, Miami, Minnesota and Michigan before choosing the Tigers on July 1 at a ceremony at Cooper High School. He came to that final four after scholarship offers from more than 60 schools across the country.

Howard led the Hawks to an appearance in the state title game last season.