On November 15, 2016 Jaylen Kelly-Powell released his commitment video which opened with scenic overviews of Powell’s hometown of Detroit. He announced that as of January he would officially be a Wolverine. Like many of Harbaugh’s 2017 early enrollees, Powell’s accomplishments are impressive. Some of them include being a Nike Opening alumni, football state champion, track state champion, and all-state football player. Powell was also the only player from the state of Michigan to be selected to play in the 2017 Under Armour All-America game.
Powell was sought after by multiple big time football programs. The top 5 schools he was considering were Michigan, Oregon, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin. “My recruiting process was actually great. I’ve met a lot of great people who I would love to continue to have a relationship with. Now sometimes I did get a little bit irritated, but the whole thing was a blessing,” said Powell.
Coach Tyrone Wheatley was Powell’s primary recruiter at Michigan, but recently took a job with the Jacksonville Jaguars. “Coach Wheatley is a great coach who left for a good reason,” said Powell. “I still and always will have a good relationship with Coach Wheatley.”
Along with all of his successes on the field and on the track, Powell maintained a GPA of 3.9 throughout high school. Academics were one of the big factors in Powell’s college decision. He stated that he needed a college that met his academic expectations as well as have a good football program for him. And Michigan is the perfect combination of these two factors for Powell.
“Ultimately I was very comfortable (at Michigan),” said Powell. “Michigan has an elite education, football staff of NFL coaches, and the people are very laid back. There’s a lot of tradition in this school and I like that.”
5-star WR Donovan People-Jones attended Detroit Cass Tech high school with Powell and is also an early enrollee at Michigan this semester. Powell and DPJ headed to the state finals for two consecutive years (2015 and 2016), losing their junior year to Romeo High School and beating Detroit Catholic Central to become state champions in 2016. Powell says that he and DPJ’s relationship is still solid. They often workout together and tell each other what they can do to improve their games. Sometimes they study together too.
“Playing close to home is a pretty good thing because I have everything here (on campus) on top of that my family will be able to reach me and come to all of my home games,” said Powell.
Adjusting to the academic rigor of Michigan has been hard for Powell, but not too difficult. He appreciates all the help made available to him and the rest of the athletic teams. Powell also made a quick adjustment to the demands of playing for a D1 football program. “My workouts are really not that bad anymore, but my first week of workouts were very hard. Everyone around me just died and were throwing up. It was a mental thing, so I could not give in,” said Powell.
Recruited as a SS/nickelback, Powell hopes to try his hand at the viper position. This position was made famous by Jabrill Peppers. The viper position requires versatility and athleticism, two things Powell quite evidently possesses after just a glimpse at his film from high school. Despite his extensive skill set, Powell is about as humble as they come.
“Honestly, the only way I can make an impact on this team is by doing whatever the coaches tell me to do,” said Powell
Aside from football, campus life has been treating Powell well. He most enjoys going to the dining hall and eating all day. Most often, however, you can find Powell studying or on his way to workouts.
Along with his football talents, Powell is also distinguished by his long dreads. If you catch him walking back from practice it is very possible you will see his hair pulled back by two strands of his own hair tied in a bow on top of his head. But for games Powell keeps it simple.
“Personally, I let my hair just hang out of my helmet like Richard Sherman,” said Powell.
Make sure to keep an eye out for Powell in the upcoming seasons. His versatility, athleticism, and dedication are sure to have an effect on Michigan’s defense. Powell will be wearing number 16, in honor of one of his favorite Wolverines Denard Robinson.