Powell to Man the Inside

MIDLOTHIAN, Va. --- Tar Heel pledge Tyler Powell has a complete understanding of his future role within North Carolina's 4-2-5 defensive scheme.

"They really want me to play weak-side, three-technique – backside defensive tackle," Powell said. "They want me to put on a little more weight, but want me to maintain my quickness off the ball to provide a speed rush."

At Fedora's Freak Show in July, Powell checked in at 6-foot-3 and 254 pounds. He says that he's closer to 260 now. The UNC staff would like Powell to play at 290 pounds for at least the early portion of his collegiate career.

"I think that once I get on campus and start lifting with the team and get on the meal plan, I think that weight will come on pretty quickly," Powell said.

For Cosby, Powell's primary position is nose guard. However, he'll rotate among the three down lineman within its 3-5 defense during the course of a game.

"I play [nose guard] because I can disrupt the offense more – disrupt pulling guards," Powell said.

Powell's ubiquity extends to offense. He has and will play every position along the offensive line, plus fullback in certain packages.

"For me, I want to play wherever it's going to help my team be successful," Powell said. "It doesn't bother me playing any position."

Walt Bell, who secured Powell's commitment for UNC, is still the UNC coach that Powell communicates with the most. But Powell says there has been an increase in contact with Keith Gilmore, his future position coach.

"[Gilmore] is definitely a great guy and great coach, and I'm definitely enjoying getting to know him," Powell said. "I'm definitely excited to get down there and getting to know him more."

During Fedora's Freak Show, Powell was able to work out under Gilmore's guidance.

"He's definitely more laidback at times, but he's not afraid to get up in your face and tell you what you're doing wrong," Powell said. "But he's a very good coach, hands on, and always showing you what you're doing wrong and what you're doing right."

Speaking of Fedora's Freak Show, Powell admired the unique of the elite camp.

"The Freak Show is high tempo," Powell said. "Everything is go, go, go. There's a lot of hype going on, a lot of energy. You're in the stadium under the lights. You get great competition, because of all the big name kids coming in – because as everyone knows Carolina recruits some very highly touted kids."

Additionally, Powell was surprised by how the Freak Show ended – with a dodge ball tournament.

"You could feel a little buzz within the group," Powell said. "We were all excited. And then when we found out we were going to get to play against the coaches if we won all of our games that made it better. It was definitely a lot of fun, a lot of competition."

Ending the camp with a dodge ball tournament proved to Powell that the UNC staff knows how to mixture pleasure with business.

"It definitely shows that they like to compete and keep a competitive environment," Powell said. "But they still have fun. They still have a lot of energy. They still want to get out and get active with the kids."

About a month later, Powell returned to Chapel Hill for the Tar Heels' July camp. While he didn't participate in the camp, he spent a lot of time mingling with the handful of UNC pledges that were also on campus.

"It was very cool to be able to go out and interact with all the other commits – guys who are going to the same school as I am," Powell said. "It's good to be able to get to know them, because I'm going to be playing with them for the next four or five years."

Powell hasn't been back to UNC since, but plans to be in attendance for a couple of games this fall.

"It's always fun to get down to games," Powell said. "Unfortunately, sometimes there are conflicts with my games. But I definitely want to get down there as much as I can."

Specially, Powell is eyeing "Zero Dark Thursday" – UNC's Thursday night game against Miami.

Powell is also looking forward to watching a couple of UNC's away games from the comfort of his own home – Virginia Tech and NC State.

"Virginia Tech will be a big one, because some people in my family are Hokie fans," Powell said. "Being down [at UNC], I've already realized how big the NC State rivalry is. I just got the idea when I'm on campus and talking to the players and the commits that it's big."

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