Powe Concentrating on Positives

As the media converged on the Ole Miss football team Monday inside the IPF, one face in the middle of the room smiled wider than all others. In fact, the smile stayed there during the entire event. It is obvious, Jerrell Powe is simply happy to be a Rebel.

The polite, soft-spoken Powe faced the media barrage of questions with candor regarding his tumultuous past and displayed optimism about his future. His admission is only provisional at the time, but Powe seems to be cherishing the opportunity without a hint of negativity. With all that has gone wrong in his past, the Wayne County product should be commended for any favorable thinking.

Powe has remained steadfast during the affair in order to play football in Oxford. His commitment is not something to be taken lightly. The young man could have stopped at multiple junctures, but he is hopefully days from the journey being complete.

"It is a dream come true to be here finally," Powe exclaimed. "I am happy to be here with the guys. These are the guys I wanted to play with. When I signed that first letter of intent, my mind was set. I wanted to be at Ole Miss and represent the state of Mississippi."

Also, Powe wanted to be under the instruction of Coach Ed Orgeron. The Rebels' head man has experience turning college linemen into first round draft picks, so Powe is looking forward to being Orgeron's newest disciple.

"I really wanted to play for Coach O," Powe said. "I didn't know practice was this hard (laughing). His intensity and will to work with big guys. He is a big-guy coach. You don't find that very often where the head coach works with the big guys. I am excited about being here and playing for him. I didn't want to go to a JUCO unless I necessarily had to. I wanted to get on the D-I level, because you need that experience when you want to go to the NFL."

The admiration goes both ways between Powe and Coach O. Orgeron referred to Powe as an example for all learning-disabled students.

"He's a tremendous young man," Coach O said. "He has a smile about him. He has great heart about him. He has special qualities that big young men sometimes don't have. When you talk to him, you can tell what he has inside. He speaks very well. We're just proud that he's here. What a great story.

"What a great story for all learning disabled students out there that are struggling that they know there is a path, a way, and that we care about them. I think it's important that we understand there are learning disabled students out there that some people turn their back on, and they should never do that. Because there are ways that learning disabled students can come to school. There are techniques that we can teach them that they can live a productive life. I think he's the one that is going to start that here at Ole Miss."

Powe said he hasn't looked at the situation that deeply, but he does think people can learn from his endeavor.

"I've never really looked at that. I should be an example of not giving up and just wanting to go to school. I would tell people not to give up on your dreams. Don't ever give up."

Powe never gave up, but some times were admittedly hard for the athletic 300-pounder. The now infamous quote about Powe not being able to read made days difficult. The onslaught of attention and exaggerations put Powe through many different emotions.

"I think I was definitely picked on. A lot of what was said wasn't true. I became angry because it was all hard to deal with. People are going to read the paper and believe whatever is in there. It was hard dealing with people wanting me to fail. Having it in the paper that I can't read made living hard. There were a lot of lies going around. It turned out for the best though."

The Clearinghouse hurdle still exists, but Powe is confident that all will be resolved soon. He says that the plan for clearance was executed, so it should be nothing more than a matter of time.

With that confidence, Powe is working on football and striving to be a starter by opening day. He ran a number of plays with the first team on Monday, and is concentrating on conditioning during a brutal camp.

So what kind of shape is Powe in?

"Well, I made it through practice today," Powe said joking. "I feel like I'm in pretty good shape. My body is getting used to this more and more. I'm in decent shape, and it will only get better."

Getting to practice for the first time was an emotional and rewarding experience for Powe, and he is already looking toward the first game. He thinks that is where it will finally "hit him."

Thanks to the energy of gameday, Powe knows that adrenaline will help out his conditioning.

"I am ready for some series, especially when gametime comes. When you are in that stadium with 60,000 people, that is probably 12 extra plays right there."

And when the time comes for Powe to take the field, it will make the long road toward eligibility worth it. You won't have to ask him. Just look at his face.

He will most likely be smiling.

OM Spirit Top Stories