The theme from all 11 early enrollees since arriving in Ann Arbor has been to see the field early and compete. Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech safety Jaylen Kelly-Powell has had that same mindset coming in. With only one returning defensive starter returning next season, the Wolverines will look for some of their young talent to step in and step up.
The Motor City standout is up to that task.
“My opportunity is to play early and I know I’m raw right now because this is a different level,” said Kelly-Powell. “It is a different competition, but I’m ready for it and I’m ready to play.”My expectations is to do my best, do what the coaches tell me to do, hustle no matter what and just compete. Everything else will take care of itself. I can only take care of what I can take care of honestly.”
Just like any transition from high school to college, Kelly-Powell has faced some of those early challenges at Michigan.
“The hardest thing I would say has to be the first day of workouts,” said Kelly-Powell. “The coaches are trying to kill us a little bit, but now workouts are starting to become easy. Pull-ups, that is what caught me off guard. Holding there until the coach says down then you got to stay in that position and come back up and hold in that position as long as you can. All you see is everyone dropping down. You want to drop down, but you can’t do it because you never give up.”
However, Kelly-Powell does agree that enrolling early will be crucial for his development.
“It was very important just getting situated with classes and once football hit, then I know how to juggle both around and not overwhelming for kids coming in.”
The 6-foot, 180-pound Kelly-Powell had offers from all over the country and took many visits, but in the end, he decided to stay home. A decision that he was happy about as well as his family.
“(I knew) for a minute, but I didn’t want to believe it,” said Kelly-Powell. “I still wanted to go out and see everything else just to be sure I wasn’t making the wrong decision. When I came here and I knew it was the right place for me, my parents were just happy. They were going to be happy regardless of where I go, but they were really just happy because it’s Michigan, so they can come see and don’t have to worry about me being too far away from home. If anything happens, it is just 30 minutes up the street.”