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Powell enters his name into NFL draft

SAT. | 05-01-21 | SPORTS

     * Since this article was written it has been announced that Cornell Powell was a fifth round draft pick for the Kansas City Chiefs.

     Former Clemson University football player and 2016 Rose alumnus Cornell Powell has entered his name into the National Football League (NFL) draft.

     In his first three years at Clemson University, Powell did not receive much playing time. Playing as a true freshman, the wide receiver logged 12 receptions. While as a true sophomore he put up eight catches. However, his junior year, Powell played four games and caught only five passes. At that point, Powell could have transferred to a smaller school in an attempt to play more. However he made the decision to stay and make the most of his remaining college career. Redshirting his fourth year in order to advance to his fifth and final season, Powell had 

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Graphic by Jack Vick

882 receiving yards and seven touchdowns his senior year, boosting his draft stock for the 2021 NFL draft which will be held on Thursday, Apr. 29.

     Powell’s draft profile lists him at six feet, 200 pounds, with a wingspan of 79 inches. His arm length is 32 inches, and his hand length is ten inches. Some of the positives noted by scouts are that he is able to extend his hands to make difficult catches as well as often wins out on contested throws. Powell is projected as a fourth receiver at the professional level, and is estimated to be a fifth to seventh round pick.

     Powell is not as highly rated as a prospect as some of his fellow Clemson wide receivers have been in previous years. Nevertheless, many feel that his physical traits and “team first” mentality will serve him well on any NFL team. Although there is still uncertainty concerning his team placement, many project that Powell’s depth, versatility and utility will serve as a universal fit for many teams, especially those with thinner receiving groups.

     “My one-year plan is to be in the NFL and win Rookie of the Year and a Super Bowl,” Powell said.

     However, Powell’s football journey began long before reaching Clemson. Powell has been playing football since he was five years old. As a senior at Rose, Powell had 65 receptions for 1,557 yards and 38 total touchdowns. As a three star prospect coming out of high school, Powell was recruited by Duke University, Florida State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Wake Forest University, University of Alabama, Ohio State University and others, before finally deciding on his dream school: Clemson.

     Growing up in Greenville, Powell has had many coaches and other individuals over the years who have had a significant influence on his life and football career.

     “My major influences were my mother, a few coaches and the pure love for the game,” Powell said.

     At Clemson, Powell was given the opportunity to play under head football coach Dabo Swinney. Swinney took over as the head coach of the football program midway
through the 2008 season, and has won two national championships in 2016 and 2018, both of which while Powell has played.

     “Coach Swinney taught me how to be a better person than a football player and how to be accountable, on and off the field,” Powell said.

     As Powell enters his next phase of life, he has many plans. In the next five years, Powell plans to engage in his second NFL contract as well as potentially marry and have a family. With Powell less than ten years away from his Rose graduation, many Rampants still feel the impact of his presence on and off the field, inspired by his record- breaking statistics as he enters the NFL draft.

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