Arkansas Linebacker A Warrior On Field

FAYETTEVILLE--Ryan Powers might have been born across the pond in England, but in his teens, he made a big splash in America, especially South America, in a place called Athens, Ala.

That's where he honed his skills as a football player instead of a soccer player because that wasn't his cup of tea.

Because his pappy, Riley, was a flyboy — translated, a member of the U.S. Air Force — Ryan Powers started his life in Great Britain.

Powers spent last Saturday night back in sweet home Alabama as a member of the Arkansas Razorbacks.

His team was getting its first dose of national exposure on TV in a Southeastern Conference slobberknocker against Alabama.

Powers, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound redshirt freshman linebacker, made more than a cameo appearance in his team's 41-38 heartbreaking loss against the Crimson Tide.

He had three tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage for a yard loss. Still, it wasn't nearly the return he had hoped for.

Powers wanted, in the worst way, to make an impact Saturday night because he'd been looking forward to returning to his home state for a long, long time.

Want proof?

Here's what he said last week:

"This game coming up, it's huge," Powers said. "It's our first Southeastern Conference game and we can't stub our toe in our SEC opener. Last year, we won the SEC West but I didn't have much of role in helping.

"This time around, I'm around to make something happen."

"I can't wait."

Powers didn't get much of a chance to showcase his talents last year. Because of an injury he really didn't sniff the field much.

He couldn't show why, as a senior at Tanner High, he was named the most valuable offensive and defensive player.

In 2006, he was a member of Arkansas kickoff coverage team, but because of a pulled right hamstring, he played in only two games. In those two games, he made only one tackle.

He was granted a medical hardship season.

"Last year was depressing for me because I was ready to play," Powers said. "The injury set me back so they gave me that redshirt so I would be ready for this year. It was a long, long year, just waiting for my chance to play again.

"That's the worst feeling in the world."

In a 46-26 season-opening win against Troy on Sept. 1 in Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Powers made five tackles.

But ...

Powers said Razorbacks fans really haven't seen him even scratch the surface of his abilities. He said he doesn't mind pushing the envelope, either, to get his message across.

"People don't really know how I play because they haven't see me play too much," he said. "I think when they see me on the field a lot, they'll see my as a threat."

Powers swears he's much more than just a football player, but that reputation goes with the territory.

Meaner than a junkyard dog, Powers has become more predator than puppy on the football field.

But ...

"Really, there's much more to me," Powers said. "When I get outside the practice field, I'm a fun guy to be around.

"I just chill, kick it with my homies. What do I like to do? NCAA football game, video games. I like movies. I like watching a lot of movies, action movies, like ‘300.'

"Favorite movie? I'd have to say, ‘Gladiator.'"

That seems appropriate for a warrior like Ryan Powers.



JERRY L. REED IS A MORNING NEWS senior SPORTS WRITER. HIS COLUMN APPEARS EACH TUESDAY AND SATURDAY. E-MAIL: JREED@NWAONLINE.NET

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