Sam Webb: What's the vibe like with Michigan so far?
Mr. Powell: "I try to be impartial because I grew up a diehard Michigan fan and he knows that. My whole house is Michigan, so I try to be impartial about the process with him and let him make his own decision. As far as the vibe, I like it. I like Coach Harbaugh, I like Coach Partridge and Coach Wheatley, so those are guys that I've been communicating with and he's been communicating with. Michigan is Michigan. It is what it is. I love the education, I love the opportunities it can bring to him. Ultimately when it comes down to it it's going to be his decision, but at the same time it's not going to be completely his decision because me and his mother have already discussed that. For 17 years of his life I've been guiding him to where he needs to be. I already told him, ‘it's going to be your decision but I'm not putting my hands up. Your biggest decision in life… I'm not just going to let it be just yours.’ He understands that and we'll go from there."
Sam Webb: What position is Michigan saying they would want Jaylen to play so far?
Mr. Powell: "Last year at Sound Mind Sound Body, they offered him as a safety early in the process. It was actually his first big, major offer. When he went to Sound Mind Sound Body last year he lined up at corner trying to open up the door for other stuff they didn't think he could do. At that point we went from strictly being recruited by Coach (Greg) Jackson to he and Coach Zordich. They said he could play either or. The last time I was up there with him which was the Northwestern basketball game, we were sitting there and it was pretty much showing him Jabrill Peppers, lining up at the nickel and up top."
Sam Webb: Tell me about his connection with J’Marick Woods?
Mr. Powell: "He went to Kentucky for a visit and that's where they first met. It was him and a couple other kids. After that visit they started talking and they ended up going to Duke together and both of them were real high on Duke at the time. Earlier (in the week a few weeks ago) J’Marick had told Jaylen that he was coming up here for a Michigan visit so Jaylen told him to call him when he got there and so he went up and met him."
Sam Webb: Does he want to join some of former Cass players somewhere?
Mr. Powell: "It's not a huge factor but it is a factor. Put it like this, all those kids at Ohio State have made it feel like home to him and Michigan has made it feel like home to him because his buddies are there. Josh Alabi is one of his guys that looked after him as a freshman and sophomore so if he decided to go anywhere other than Michigan, those guys will make it a little bit easier."
Sam Webb: What's your take on the Buckeyes?
Mr. Powell: "I hated Ohio State going into this process. (Laughter). But Ohio State was probably truly the first school to visit my son. Even before the offers came, he and Coach Coombs had a relationship and had been talking for months on top of months on top of months. In the process me and Coach Coombs have had conversations and I've been up there at least four or five times now. So I feel comfortable with Ohio State if he decided to go to Ohio State. We were just up there (a few weeks ago for) their last practice. Now, it's just about where he feels most comfortable and go from there."
Sam Webb: Pretend you guys are sitting down to have that final conversation to determine what he is going to do. What are the biggest factors going to be?
Mr. Powell: "We've already put together with a spread sheet with every school that has offered so we're not eliminating any school in the process because any school that's offered him we're going to take the time out of respect for those guys. He's truly honored. That being said, in the spread sheet, we have columns and we actually rank each school in that column. The first column I know off the top of my head is academic ranking as far as division one schools. Right now, Stanford is No. 1, Duke is No. 2, then it goes Northwestern and all the way down the list. That's one of the biggest things. Then we have do they have the major he's looking to go into. Then we're looking at defensive ranking from last year. We might need to eliminate that one now though because you have coaching changes, like Don Brown. At Boston College he was No. 1 last year and we know he is at Michigan now. It kind of skews the number a little bit. And then are they graduating players… the graduation rate and things like that."
Sam Webb: What does Jaylen’s decision timeline look like?
Mr. Powell: "He'll be an early enrollee so this decision is probably going to come in the summer. Wherever he decides we're looking to find the right place for him and lock him in."
Sam Webb: Has Michigan talked you guys about how many they’re taking at Jaylen’s position?
Mr. Powell: "When they first talked to Jaylen and myself (they said that) because it was such a huge class last signing period they're probably going to take one or two safeties. They were saying that Jaylen was priority No. 1. I know that J’Marick just committed. As soon as he committed the coaches reached out right away to say that, ‘you're next. We have the safety combination that we're looking for.’"
Sam Webb: Other than Michigan and Ohio State, who is up there right now?
Mr. Powell: "Duke, UCLA, Stanford, Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan State just got involved cause they finally offered him. I do know he had a lot of interest in Oregon before the process started."
Sam Webb: Is there any way you see a quick decision before the summer?
Mr. Powell: "He wasn't supposed to make any type of decision until after June because we're going out to California. He has a lot of family out there. We accelerated that process and he went two weeks ago with his mother to see UCLA and USC and he didn't get a chance to see Cal and Stanford. Once he sees those two he's seen everything he wants to see and pretty much at that point we'll clear it up and figure out what he wants to do."
Sam Webb: When does he go out there?
Mr. Powell: "He leaves May 24 to June 3."
Sam Webb: Will distance from home be an issue?
Mr. Powell: "It doesn't bother me like it did at first. It's to the point now, like I told him, it's nothing for me to catch a flight. He has a lot of family out there and his mother, brothers and sisters are out there so he has family out that way. Down south, my father and his family is from Florida, Tallahassee so if he went down south we have family down there. It doesn't bother me as much as it used to but like I told him it's nothing on us cause I'd love to be able to see him on a Saturday. There's only so many schools I can get up and drive to on a Saturday to see him play."