January 9, 2010

Powell steals the show in West triumph

MORE: Gators land Powell | Army All-American Bowl coverage

SAN ANTONIO - It was a big Saturday for five-star defensive end Ronald Powell in more ways than one.

Not only was Powell a force on the field for the West team in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, helping lead them to a 30-14 victory over the East squad, but he announced he would be playing his college football at Florida.

By the way, he was named the MVP of the game as well.

Powell caught a first-half touchdown pass and also returned a blocked extra point 97 yards for two points. On the defensive side of the ball, Powell made five tackles and also forced a fumble.

The big question surrounds whether he did enough this week to take over the No. 1 spot in the Rivals100.

"That's not up to me to decide," Powell said. "That's up to the people that's been deciding and making these rankings. But, I'd love to be in that spot."

Whether it was on offense or defense, Powell continued to shine Saturday. In the first half he snuck out on a route to the end zone and was all alone with the safety.

"I blocked down, held the block, got outside that safety as he bit up," Powell said about his TD catch - the first score of the game. "And I got behind him. It was me and him."

Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barry Every said that Powell is the total package.

"He runs with the grace of a running back or a receiver, yet he's built like a kid who could be a strongside/weakside defensive end at the next level," Every said. "He could play slot receiver, tight end, running back, both defensive end positions and linebacker at the next level - which is probably more than I've seen of any other kid this year.

"The bottom line is he's a defensive player who's a game-changer, and he's actually going to score points."

Powell just wanted to pick up a trophy after not being selected for the player-of-the-year award at last night's award ceremony. He now has the game's top hardware, and he hopes his performance this week will be a springboard for an outstanding career at Florida.

The biggest reason the 6-4, 230-pound do-it-all athlete chose the Gators was his relationship with coach Urban Meyer. Powell said Meyer called him as soon as the news came out about the coach's leave-of-absence.

To say Powell is excited about the future is an understatement.

"Florida Gators baby - I'm a Gator," he said. "Urban Meyer has been nothing but loyal to me, the fan support, the city, the players, everything is great. I've got some upcoming class (members) coming in - Sharrif Floyd, Matt Elam. We're going to come in as freshmen, play as true freshmen and get a chance at that SEC Championship. After we win that, you know where we're going.

"No. 1 class in the nation ... we're about to do this thing."

With the stadium beginning to empty, Powell sat in the post-game press conference and the emotions took over.

A teary-eyed Powell mentioned the support of his coaches, his mother, and everyone around him. He also talked about his hard work.

Saturday, it all paid off.




 

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