Powell makes impression in the spring game

Surprised by being the first safety picked in the spring draft, Powell has solid showing Saturday in the spring game with five tackles and a pass breakup. He talks about moving forward this summer and into next season.

In his first chance to get on the field at Spartan Stadium, redshirt freshman safety Jalyn Powell naturally had a few butterflies.

But they fully went away when he ran downfield with wide receiver DeAnthony Arnett and forced an incompletion.

Powell got up off the turf and gave what has become a trademark for Michigan State, as he signaled incomplete or a "No Fly Zone" motion.

"It felt like just so much went away after I made that play because I had butterflies a little bit," he said. "It feels better now."

Powell had five tackles and a pass breakup for the Green team in the spring game Saturday as the White team beat the Green team 20-13.

How he became a member of the Green team had come as a bit of a surprise when Wednesday's spring game draft was held, however. He was taken first at the safety position, ahead of more experienced players R.J. Williamson and Demetrious Cox.

He said it came as a big surprise to him and he never thought he would go first.

"I just thought that my teammates thought highly of me," he said, "and that I can help the team out in a good way and come out here and make a lot of plays to help us out."

He felt he played alright in Saturday's game and hoped he made the teammates that selected him first proud.

Come the fall, he hopes for a role on the team, but mostly just to help the Spartans win.

"I just wanna be able to come out, contribute, play hard and make a lot of tackles," he said.

He has been battling with Cox and Williamson through the spring and – despite being third on the depth chart right now – could factor into the playing group come the season opener, coach Mark Dantonio said.

"He has hitting ability and he's a young player," Dantonio said. "He's become more disciplined in what he's doing, but you're going to see him show up on the field whether it's a lot of special teams or in and out of different defenses."

He could find himself with a greater role, but it comes down to improving the mental part of his game and finding consistency in that.

"If he becomes more consistent in his mental assignments," Dantonio said, "you're going to see him get on the field because he can tackle, he's a downhill player, he is a big strong guy and that's a little bit of what Isaiah Lewis was early in his career."

Powell said he spent last year being able to learn from Lewis and apply what he learned to his skill set and knowledge.

But as he competes to find snaps on fall Saturdays, he is just working as hard as he can to play catch up.

"I'm trying to catch up as fast as I can to be able to compete with them," he said. "Just the mental part of the game and getting to know the schemes. Just trying to learn everything as fast as possible."

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