KNOXVILLE – Tennessee saw immediate dividends from its big weekend of hosting visitors.
Brandon Powell, classified as an ‘athlete’, of Deerfield Beach, Fla., pledged to coach Butch Jones on Sunday morning and confirmed his decision via Twitter.
Powell, who measures 5-foot-9, 170 pounds, could play a variety of positions, including running back, slot wide receiver or cornerback. As a junior in high school last season, he rushed for 1,180 yards, picked off two passes and returned four total kicks for touchdowns. His big season netted him offers from dozens of schools, including Auburn, California, LSU, Nebraska, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Syracuse and West Virginia.
His film and scouting reports reveal an electric player when he gets his hands on the ball who doesn’t have the size to be an every-down back in the SEC. That could mean he ends up as a slot receiver who takes some carries and helps in the return game.
“This kid has some juice and wiggle to him,” ESPN.com wrote in a scouting report. “While he is dramatically undersized for a fulltime load carrier, it is going to be difficult to get a clean shot at him. Reaches top speed quickly.
“The downside here is his size. Lacks bulk, strength, power and likely will always be a change-of-pace threat. There is short and then there is short – and he is short. Frame will only be able to carry so much weight no matter how hard he hits the weight room.”
Tennessee now has 16 commitments in the 2014 class and, as of Sunday morning, is ranked second in the nation in recruiting behind Texas, according to Rivals.com.
How he fits: It’s hard to project exactly where he’ll play, but it’s a pretty safe assumption that he won’t play running back – at least not exclusively. He could find a niche as somewhat of a gadget player in Jones’ offense who lines up in the slot and in the backfield. He could be dangerous on screens and reverses and could also be a dynamic return man.
Defense is a possibility too. Though he’s much shorter than the ideal cornerback, he could be a good matchup with slot receivers if he gets a chance at nickelback.
ESPN.com: 4-star; 35th best athlete in the nation
Rivals.com: 3-star; 24th best athlete in the nation
Scout.com: 3-star; 69th best running back in the nation
247Sports.com: 3-star; 67th best athlete in the nation
247Sports.com Composite: 3-star; 51st best athlete in the nation
Tennessee’s 2014 commitments (247Sports Composite ranking)
ATH Brandon Powell (3-star)
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee football for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga