USA Basketball

FB Forecast: RB Shaquille Powell

Continuing the player by player preview of the 2015 Duke Blue Devils with a look at the team's first string running back, Shaquille Powell.

Shaquille Powell

Position:

RB

Height/Weight:

5-foot-10 / 205 pounds

High School:

Las Vegas (NV) / Bishop Gorman

Year:

Senior

*****

2014 Review:

Powell earned the starting running back nod out of camp as a junior and proceeded to start 11 of the 12 games he appeared in a season ago.  He missed the game against Georgia Tech due to injury.  In his dozen appearances Powell carried the ball 134 times for 618 yards and two touchdowns.  He also proved to be a weapon out of the backfield, recording 18 catches for 154 yards and one touchdown.  

*****

2015 Preview

The senior returns as the top back in a stable that includes at least three other viable and experienced options.  Duke’s approach to the ground game has always been running back by committee, but that changed a bit against Arizona State in the Sun Bowl as Powell logged a career high 29 carries and 117 yards.   Powell enters his final season on the watch list of the Doak Walker Award and ranking fifth among active ACC players in rushing attempts and receiving yards by a running back.

*****

TDD Projection

With Jela Duncan out and Shaun Wilson and Joe Ajeigbe both banged up throughout the preseason, it’s likely Powell will see a heavier workload to start the season before it levels out with the return of his backfield teammates.    We’d expect him to log at least 150 carries this season along with 20-25 receptions.

*****

How he ended up in Durham

Powell committed to Duke in early December of 2011 after taking an official visit to Durham earlier in the month.  Throughout that time, it was anyone's guess where the three star back would end up.

"Everybody says that when you know you found the right school you're going to feel it, and I think that's what really happened when I was at Duke," he told Scout.com after committing.

"I visited a couple schools officially and unofficially and I never got that feeling like I did with Duke, and that's how I knew personally that it was the right place to go to."

Similarly to his demeanor throughout the recruiting process, Powell kept his feelings close to the vest during the trip.

"I had my poker face on throughout the whole visit, so I never really gave a great reaction to him (David Cutcliffe) like I should have," Powell explains. "When I told him, it was the last day and I was the last person to leave and I was the last person to meet with the head coach. I just came out and told him, he was really shocked and surprised and happy."

Powell chose Duke over offers from Arizona State, Fresno State, Illinois, Northern Arizona, San Diego State, UNLV, Utah and Vanderbilt. 

*****

High School Highlights

Three-year letterman at Bishop Gorman under coach Tony Sanchez ... helped Bishop Gorman to a three-year record of 42-4 with three Nevada 4A state championships ...selected to the 2012 PARADE All-America team ... honorable mention All-America selection by SI.com as a senior ... named Nevada’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2011 ... selected as the 2011 Nevada 4A Player of the Year by the Las Vegas Review-Journal ... as a senior, rushed for 2,458 yards with 44 total TDs (40 rushing) as Bishop Gorman went 15-1, captured its third consecutive state title and closed the year ranked No. 5 in the final USA Today national poll ... despite missing five games due to injury, rushed for 1,394 yards and 17 TDs in junior campaign ... [info from this last section gathered from GoDuke.com]


The Devils Den Top Stories