University of Florida Gators
Moreno Valley, California
Rancho Verde High School
A tall, yet lean, and muscular athlete with very little body fat, Powell returned triumphantly in 2013 after missing the previous season after twice injuring knee during both of the Gators' offseason camps. Unfortunately for the strong-side linebacker, most of his team-mates succumbed to the "injury bug" last season, with 14 projected starters missing considerable playing time. That led to a 4-8 season and Florida watching bowl games on television rather that customarily playing in one.
What Powell does best in wreak havoc in the backfield, so much so, you wonder if every quarterback he meets is his sworn enemy. In three seasons at Florida, he has recorded 83 tackles, getting to the quarterback 12 times (10 solos/two assists) along with recording 28 tackles behind the line of scrimmage (16 solos/12 assists). Of his 11 quarterback pressures, three caused interceptions and four others resulted in incomplete passes on third-down plays.
The Moreno Valley, California native was regarded as a five-star prospect and top defensive end in the nation by Scout.com during his senior season at Rancho Verde High School, where he played defensive end, linebacker and tight end.
During Powell's senior season, he totaled over 80 tackles, 13 sacks, 28 tackles for losses on defense, while averaging over 15 yards per catch on offense. He was named a High School All-American by USA Today, Parade, and EA Sports. He was selected to play in the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and earned MVP honors, in addition to being a finalist for the U.S. Army Player of the Year Award.
Powell would travel cross country to play college football, signing his national letter-of-intent to become a Florida Gator on January 9th, 2010. As a true freshman, he paid immediate dividends as a gunner on special teams, also earning his only starting assignment vs. Appalachian State at strong-side outside linebacker. He finished his first varsity season with 25 tackles that included one sack among his three stops-for-loss.
Trying to capitalize on Powell's quickness and backfield penetration skills, he was moved to the "Buck" linebacker position as a sophomore. In 11 contests, he delivered 32 tackles, getting to the quarterback for six sacks, as two of his three QB pressures resulted in interceptions. He also finished fourth on the squad with nine tackles-for-loss.
In 2012 spring camp, Powell suffered an anterior cruciate ligament tear. He worked hard throughout rehabilitation and surprised the coaches when he passed his physical during August camp. The elation was short-lived, as he re-injured the knee in practice and was lost for the entire season, receiving a medial redshirt.
Powell returned top action in 2013 and was one of the team's few bright spots. Due to injuries, he often shuttled between the "Buck" and strong-side outside linebacker positions last season. He only collected 26 tackles, but did his most damage in the opposing backfield, collecting four sacks with seven tackles behind the line of scrimmage and eight quarterback pressures.
Powell started 21-of-37 games at Florida, alternating between strong-side outside line-backer and the "Buck" position…Finished with 83 tackles (55 solos), 11 sacks (ten solos/two assists) for minus 79 yards, 19 stops for losses totaling 111 yards, 11 quarterback pressures and two pass deflections.