The latest in a long line of great Fayetteville High quarterbacks now has the first of what is likely to be a plethora of scholarship offers.
Purple Bulldog junior Taylor Powell (6-1, 190), who was named the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Sophomore of the Year, was offered a scholarship earlier this week by Arkansas State.
He completed 172-of-271 for 2,513 yards with 20 touchdowns and 8 interceptions last season while leading Fayetteville (9-3) to the Class 7A state title game before losing to Bentonville.
“To get that first offer is just a great feeling, especially when you have grown up thinking about playing college football all your life,” Powell said.
“It makes you know that all the hard work that you have put in is paying off, but you also know that you are not going to stop working hard every day because this is really still just the beginning.
“I’ve got to get better as an individual, mostly to help my team, but also to keep getting myself in better position to be successful down the line.”
Powell, who completed 40 of his last 52 passes last season with a 20-of-22 performance against Fort Smith Southside in the semifinal, was invited to the prestigious Nike Elite 11 Camp in Dallas this spring.
That follows in the footsteps of current Fayetteville and Arkansas quarterbacks Brandon and Austin Allen, but they were both selected as juniors while Powell earned the honor as a sophomore.
He is currently going through a trio of weeks of traveling to camps and has already been to Tulsa, Illinois, Memphis and Arkansas State.
Powell will be at SMU on Friday, TCU on Saturday, Oklahoma State on Sunday and make an appearance Monday at Arkansas’ camp.
“It’s been a grind with traveling, but I know it is well worth it to get to see these places and let them see me,” Powell said.
He’ll also make his way to Pittsburgh – where former Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney is now - and West Virginia, where he has family.
Most of those schools came by to see Powell this spring at Fayetteville High with Chaney and new Arkansas offensive coordinator Dan Enos particularly interested.
He came close to leading his team to a state title as he marched Fayetteville down the field for a go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter of the title game.
But Bentonville’s Kasey Ford got the Tigers into the end zone with seconds left to win the game.
“We came so close last season and that has been what has been driving us during the off-season,” Powell said. “We are so determined to get back there and win it all this time.”
Powell goes into this with a new offensive coordinator in Brooks Coatney, who takes the place of Zac Clark, who took over as the head coach at Springdale.
“Since Coach Clark left and Coach Coatney came in, I have worked really hard to improve,” Powell said. “I feel really comfortable with him and I am learning a lot.
“I feel like I have a great work ethic and feel like I am much better right now than I was at the end of last season. I feel like my arm is stronger, I am making better decisions and I am also putting in extra time with my receivers to get the chemistry we need for next season.
“I am also trying to spend a lot of time with my teammates off the field because I think that coming together off the field is a big part of success on the field.”
Powell is obviously an Arkansas fan, is impressed with what the Razorbacks did toward the end of last season and is curious what Enos will bring to the table.
“Arkansas really got it together at the end of last season and the bowl win over Texas was a great way to end the season,” Powell said. “I’m really excited to see what this year holds, especially to see what Coach Enos brings to the offense and what that would look like.
“I am anxious to get over there next week and talk with Coach Enos and the other coaches and then get back with my team and try to have a successful summer with our 7-on-7 and getting ready for next season.”