Irish see versatility in 4-star DB

Junior safety Jaylen Kelly-Powell saw a different side of Notre Dame at Junior Day. Irish coaches see anything from a nickel back to a safety in the four-star prospect from Detroit.

Jaylen Kelly-Powell saw one side of Notre Dame during the season while on a game day visit.

Getting back to South Bend on Saturday revealed more. Kelly-Powell, a four-star safety from Detroit, took in-depth campus tours and learned about the academic side of things as part of a first Junior Day for prospects in the Class of 2017.

He also reconnected with defensive line coach Keith Gilmore, the area recruiter, and head coach Brian Kelly.

“It was great,” Kelly-Powell said. “I got to spend time with coach Kelly, coach Gilmore, everybody. Me and coach Gilmore talked about life and the networking with everybody and Notre Dame’s academic education. Gilmore took us on a campus tour. We saw the library and the church. They talked about how Notre Dame began.”

Kelly-Powell talked over the academics with Gilmore and other coaches but also took in the perspective of current athletes. They said it’s not all work and no play.

“They had a couple athletes come in and talk to us about it,” Kelly-Powell said. “They said you’ve got time to have fun. It’s not just straight about business. You’ve gotta have your schedule planned out every day but once you get it done you realize you have time to yourself.”

Defensive backs coach Todd Lyght met with Kelly-Powell as part of a position group meeting. Lyght talked about his own background and resume, with Kelly-Powell noting his long career in the NFL after playing at Notre Dame. Lyght played high school ball in Flint, Mich., about an hour north of Detroit.

Kelly noted Kelly-Powell could play nickel, cornerback or safety.

“Coach Kelly told me the thing that separates me from other athletes is my academics,” Kelly-Powell said. “I can play corner, safety and nickel. He said it’s rare to find people that can play all of them. Some people just play corner and some people just play safety.”

After the visit wrapped up, Kelly-Powell made his way to Michigan State for an unofficial visit along side Cass Tech High teammate Donovan Peoples-Jones, a four star receiver. Peoples-Jones also visited Notre Dame. The Spartans have yet to offer Kelly-Powell a scholarship.

Notre Dame has already done so. Same goes for Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Northwestern, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Stanford, Tennessee, UCLA, Vanderbilt, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Kelly-Powell plans to visit Ohio State next week. He also has trips to Kentucky and West Virginia in the works for early February.

“I’m staying wide open, always,” he said. “I’m wide open to everything. You just never know.”

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