Spotlight: Tydreke Powell

ROEBUCK, S.C. --- There will be many players to observe as the 2006 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas unfolds on Saturday, but one player who should be a special treat for fans to watch - Hertford County High School standout Tydreke Powell.

Late Wednesday afternoon, the North Carolina squad practiced in Dorman High School stadium. The players had undergone two sessions of practice Tuesday and one earlier that morning. While several players seemed to be giving into fatigue, Tyreke Powell practiced every play as if it might decide the outcome of the game. The defensive tackle, who's larger than the 283 pounds listed in his Scout.com profile, simply could not be blocked. The offense had only two choices to deal with Powell - run the play away from him or hold him.

Powell's size and strength accounts for some of his effectiveness, but his athleticism and "motor" are equally important. He uses his hands, feet, quickness and agility to get past his would-be blockers and seems equally effective against the run or pass.

He never gives up on a play and if he cannot affect it directly he'll attempt to alter it indirectly. When Powell bursts through protection on a pass play, which was often the case on Wednesday afternoon, if he could not reach the quarterback he would leap and get his arms up to bat down the pass or force the passer to alter his throw.

Powell, as all high school players do, will obviously learn techniques at the next level that will help increase his effectiveness. However, you cannot teach desire and "want to," which is Powell's calling card. He refuses to believe that he cannot impact every play in some fashion.

Powell was often through the line so quickly that he was in danger of overrunning the play. He may not have that problem as often once he begins to face college competition, but that was one of the few areas where he appears to need work.

There will be a lot of talented football players to watch this Saturday. For example, Dwight Jones, a UNC commit, is as good-looking a wide receiver as you can hope for, while Ryan Houston is an intimidating figure at tailback. But you've got to love a player who not only has great talent, but also has great desire, even late on a Wednesday afternoon practice before the Shrine Bowl.

If you keep your eye on No. 99 this Saturday, you'll see a heck of a football player.

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