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WVU quarterback Smith to soon have his own trading card

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Image courtesy of Panini America Image courtesy of Panini America
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West Virginia University quarterback Geno Smith hasn't been drafted for the National Football League yet, but that isn't stopping one company from making a professional trading card of him.

Panini America, the world's largest sports and entertainment collectibles company, announced Feb. 1 that it has reached a trading card agreement with Smith for the 2013 NFL season.

The deal is Smith's first officially licensed NFL and NFL PLAYERS trading card deal and will include Smith's first licensed autographed trading cards.

"Geno Smith is an incredibly talented young player blessed with the kind of otherworldly skill set that sports fans and football card collectors alike absolutely love," Panini America CEO Mark Warsop said in a news release. "Our unique partnership with him will help us deliver the most sought after Rookie Cards and autographs of one of the most sought after players in the entire 2013 rookie class — all season long."      

During his four-year career at West Virginia, Smith passed for more than 11,000 yards and 98 touchdowns. He earned First Team All Big-East honors in 2011 and the 2012 Orange Bowl MVP Award.

Numerous media reports suggest Smith will be picked in the first round of the NFL draft in late April, and some outlets have said he might be the No. 1 pick of the season. This week, talk has circled about the Kansas City Chiefs using its No. 1 pick to draft Smith.

Smith's trading cards will appear in Panini America's 2013 Score Football product that is slated to release in May. In addition to traditional trading cards, Smith will be featured on product packaging and in social media initiatives throughout the length of the agreement.

Panini America is the only company in the world that manufactures licensed trading cards and stickers for the NBA, NFL, NFL PLAYERS, NHL, NHLPA, MLBPA and FIFA World Cup. The company also has exclusive relationships with USA Baseball, USA Basketball and the U.S. Soccer Women's National Team. 

In addition Panini also has relationships with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, The Pro Football Hall of Fame and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and owns exclusive entertainment licenses with Disney, Justin Bieber and Michael Jackson, and more than 600 global licenses with other sports and entertainment properties.

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