New Maryland offensive coordinator Walt Bell has been actively scanning the ranks for senior quarterbacks, but Jan. 11 he extended an offer to a junior gunslinger he’s known for more than two years now. Taylor Powell (Fayetteville, Ark.) picked up an early verbal from Bell when the coach was at Arkansas State in 2013, and the two have remained in contact since then.
“I know Coach Bell pretty well; him and I go way, way back,” said the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Powell, who claims offers from UMD, Wake Forest and Arkansas State. “We’ve kept in touch for awhile now, and we stayed in contact after he went over to Maryland. Then I spoke to him [Jan. 11], and he told me I now had an offer from Maryland. He said I’d be a great fit in the system there and I’m the right fit for Maryland. I was really, really excited.”
Powell’s connection with Bell is strong enough where the recruit began researching UMD soon after the coach transitioned over to College Park, Md. The quarterback said he’s “really impressed” with what he’s read about the Terps and their new staff, as well as the university itself.
“When Coach Bell got to Maryland in December I got really interested [in the Terps] and decided to look into them,” Powell said. “It’s a really, really impressive school as far as what they offer academically. And I know it’s a new staff, and they look to be moving the program in the right direction. It’s a Big Ten school, they’re Under Armour [affiliated] and there’s a lot of resources there. I kind of fell in love with [Maryland], so I’m excited to visit there this spring or summer.”
When Powell spoke to Bell Jan. 11, the recruit learned even more about Maryland. Afterwards, the junior became even more intrigued about heading East.
“One thing I asked Coach Bell about was the premed program at Maryland, because that’s what I want to study,” Powell said. “And he was telling me about the program there, and how Maryland is like 15 minutes from D.C. and not far from Baltimore. It sounds like there are plenty of opportunities for internships and just a ton of resources around the university. Coach Bell was like, ‘If you come here and make a name for yourself as a quarterback, that’s going to carry a lot of weight with outside job opportunities.’ So that got me really excited.
“Then I already knew about the offense from what he did at Arkansas State, so I know I’d fit right in football-wise. But [Bell] was saying how they have a new $160 million facility they’re building and they’re really bringing the football program up, so it all sounded really impressive.”
But would Powell be averse to playing in College Park? After all, it’s not exactly in Big 12 or SEC country, where Powell’s lived all his life.
“Distance doesn’t really matter to me,” Powell said. “I’m going to go where I get a great education, where I fit in with the system, and where they play great football. Whether a school is close by or far from home, it doesn’t matter.”
Maryland won’t be the only program in pursuit of Powell, however. As aforementioned, he does hold one other power-five offer from Wake Forest, but Oklahoma State; Notre Dame; Oklahoma; Arkansas; Illinois; and Iowa State, to name a few, have shown interest.
Powell has visited Arkansas, a hometown favorite, numerous times, while he’s also tripped to Oklahoma State; Illinois; Auburn; Tulsa; SMU; and TCU.
“I’ve been to a bunch of schools that I’ve really enjoyed. I can’t really say one school has stood out,” Powell said. “But, right now, I’m interested in whatever school is interested in me. If a school thinks enough of me to recruit me, then I’ll look into them and definitely consider them.”
Powell is coming off a junior season where he completed 269-of-378 passes for 3,594 yards and 49 touchdowns. He rushed the ball 50 times for 115 yards and tallied six more scores.
“I’d say I’m a pretty balanced quarterback,” Powell said. “I can run a pro-style or a spread, and I do like to be in the pocket, but I can run when I need to.”