"I camped at UNC, NC State, and Virginia Tech and I went to a lot of combines," Powell stated. "They were real good. I learned a lot, and I'm just ready to show what all I learned. This is my last year, and I learned a lot from the different schools so I want to have a big year."
Hertford County returns Powell, quarterback Danny Dembry, and tight end Lamarcus Jenkins, all Division I recruits, but one player most fans don't know about is senior running back Travis Pierce, a player Powell and Hertford head coach Greg Watford are raving about.
"He has worked real hard, and I'm ready to see him play," said Powell. "He played last year behind LaMarcus Bond, and whoever plays behind him won't get much time because of how good he is. It will be real hard to play with LaMarcus in front of you, but Travis will get to now. He ran a 4.45 at a camp, and he's real strong. I'm ready to see him come out and run the ball for us."
"Travis is really under the radar," said coach Watford. "He's exploded this spring, and I think he's going to have a big year for us. He had the fastest 40 at one combine, and he's a big, physical kid back there running the ball. He's going to surprise a lot of people, and I think he's a legitimate recruit."
Pierce is trying to develop a reputation, but Powell already has one, as he is considered one of the top players in the state of North Carolina. Tabbed the No. 14 defensive tackle in the country and a four-star prospect by Scout.com, Powell has a long list of suitors and admits that he is wide open.
"I've got like 42 offers," he said. "The last one I picked up was Penn State. That made it 42 for me. It's bouncing around right now.
"I'm going to get it down as soon as I can, but it's kind of hard right now to have a short list because I need to see some more schools first."
Which program is recruiting Powell the hardest?
"I would say Florida is recruiting me the hardest," he stated. "I'm looking forward to getting down there and seeing how the school is. I want to talk to the coaches some more and meet the players.
|"I would say Florida is recruiting me the hardest."|
"They had already offered me, but they are coming real hard at me right now. Doc Holliday is a great guy. He sends me a lot of text messages, and we just talk like we've been knowing each other forever."
Powell admits that he is really interested in all three of the big Florida schools, Florida, Florida State, and Miami, but the in-state programs, North Carolina and NC State, remain heavily in the mix.
"Well I've liked Carolina for a long, long time and that's because Julius Peppers is my favorite player," he said. "They have been on me since the 9th grade, so they have been in the picture for a long time.
"NC State is a great school, and they had a lot of defensive linemen go to the league this year. It's just a great school, and coach Amato just seems to know how to win. I love how he runs his program and let everybody get after people on defense. He just lets them go out there and make plays."
Powell, who is really close to NC State signee LaMarcus Bond, is also familiar with several Wolfpack players, as he met them on various unofficial visits and at camp this summer.
"I've definitely built a relationship with Andre Brown and Willie Young," he said. "I really like both of them. I also liked hanging out with [Demario] Pressley and Tank Tyler when I was up there. I felt comfortable around State's players. That was real fun.
"LaMarcus Bond is doing everything he can to get me up there to play with him. He asked me this weekend if I had narrowed my list or anything like that. I told him that when the time comes I wanted him to be straight up with me and tell me everything about NC State. I want him to tell me the truth and not to tell me a lie just to get me there. We are close, and I think he will do that. I don't see him just telling me something I want to hear."
Is there a leader for Powell?
"It's kind of hard right now," he said. "I don't think I even have a top five. I'm just going over it with my mother and she wants me to go see some of the schools before I cut down my list.
"I'm open right now. When this process started up, and I just had a few offers I was leaning to Carolina a lot, but it's just real crazy right now. It's open. I'm going to try and look at everyone I can."
Academics and a connection with the coaching staff will be important to Powell, but his familiarity with the current players will also factor into his decision.
"I'm definitely trying to get a feel for the coaches and players at the schools," he said. "The players are going to be my brothers the next four years so I need to find the best group of players that fit me, and I can bond with."
The 6-foot-3, 295-pound defensive tackle recorded 11 sacks as a junior. He plans on announcing his decision at the US Army All-American Bowl should he make the team.
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