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Earlier this month Jaylen Kelly-Powell checked another major recruiting trip off of his list. The Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech safety finally made his way West for long anticipated visits to UCLA and USC.
"(The trip) was good… really good," Kelly-Powell said. "(UCLA) is just great. The campus is beautiful. I didn’t expect that from UCLA. I understand it’s very nice out there, but I did not expect to see what I saw." “(USC was) pretty good. It's downtown California, but it’s really nice. They didn't really talk to me too much about everything, but they (had things going on) so I understand."
The aforementioned stops were initially slated to be only part of a Golden State tour that was to also include Cal and Stanford. The logistics of making it all the way up to Northern California weren’t able to be worked out, though, and whether he makes it back out West unofficially is yet to be determined. All Kelly-Powell can say for sure now regarding visit is he will definitely take all five officials.
"Right now we really want to see all the schools before we make any decisions (on committing),” he explained. “I don't want to be the kid that jumps from school to school. Once I commit, I want to stay committed to that school."
Michigan has been working feverishly to land said commitment, and one day after competing in front of Wolverine coaches (and a host of others) at Sound Mind Sound Body in Detroit he was back in Ann Arbor for yet another visit Saturday. So far this year Kelly-Powell may have visited Michigan more than any other prospect. Now after taking so many trips the purpose of his time on campus has changed.
Said Kelly-Powell, "all the other visits the coaches have been talking to me about football. The last couple it was me getting to know people. That's better than just talking about football."
When asked which coach he was forging a strong bond with he rattled off multiple staff members.
"Coach Partridge, Coach Bush, Coach Wheatley, (and) Coach Harbaugh every now and then,” Kelly-Powell stated. “I know he's a very, very busy man."
The frequent interaction has helped illuminate what the talented youngster finds most appealing about the Maize & Blue, and all but eliminated any lingering questions
"Right now what I like about them (is) the coaches,” he said. “Great coaches… NFL coaches. They have a plan for all their players after football, which is a really good thing. What do I have to learn about them, more? Not much really. I've been there several times. I have inside people telling me how it is, which is really great."
Needless to say the Wolverines are in very good shape, but strong competition persists… especially from within the Big Ten. Another criterion factoring into Kelly-Powell’s decision and giving other suitors stronger footing is his desire to play college ball with his cousin, Detroit King cornerback Ambry Thomas. When asked to rate on a scale from one to ten the importance of being teammates at the next level he didn’t hesitate.
"10,” he said. “We were supposed to play in high school together. We're trying to make it happen, but we both want what's best for each other."
Michigan is definitely a strong option for both and have risen in Thomas’ recruitment in recent months thanks in part to joint visits they’ve taken to Ann Arbor. But Wolverines are far from the only option they have in common.
"We look at all of our offers and they're pretty much the same schools," Kelly-Powell stated. "We’ve visited Michigan State together, Wisconsin together, Ohio State together, Kentucky together, Cincinnati together, (and) a couple of other schools."
For now both are content with continuing the evaluation process and honing their respective games at camps.
Next up on the docket… The Opening Finals in Beaverton, Oregon early next month.
Stay tuned to the Michigan Insider for Ambry Thomas’ take on the importance of being a package deal with Kelly-Powell.