Freshman Brandon Powell is the running back Florida has missed over the past few seasons. His speed, athleticism, and explosiveness make him the home run threat the Gators have lacked. Powell fits right in with Florida’s stable of running backs.
Playing at Deerfield Beach High School in Broward County, Powell had a terrific career for the Bucks. He played on both sides of the ball, showing off his coverage and ball skills. As a junior, Powell rushed for 1,180 yards and 13 touchdowns. He followed that season up with an even better senior campaign. Powell showcased his abilities as a defensive back, running back, receiver, and return man. He nabbed three interceptions, totaled 452 return yards and a touchdown on special teams, and caught 21 balls for 289 yards and two TDs. But it was his ground game that caught the eyes of most college programs. Powell rushed for 1,339 yards (9.5 ypc) and 20 touchdowns on 141 carries as he earned Broward County 8A-7A-6A Player of the Year and 8A First Team All-State honors his senior season.
The recruiting process for Powell was an interesting one. The recruiting services couldn’t decide what to categorize him as. ESPN had him as an athlete, Rivals put him as a all-purpose back, Scout decided cornerback was the best fit, and 247Sports marked him as all of the above. 247Sports composite ratings pegged him as a three-star prospect (despite being a four-star on both ESPN and Rivals), ranked as the 14th athlete, 53rd player in Florida, and 400th overall of the 2014 recruiting class. Initially, Powell committed to Tennessee in July between his junior and senior seasons. Two months later, he decided to flip to his hometown Miami Hurricanes. He was all set to enroll early at Miami, but held up for one reason or another. Florida stepped in and ended up picking him up as an early enrollment in January.
Since he committed, Powell’s impressed many on the Gators sidelines. He’s that explosive, change-of-pace back Florida’s missed since the days of Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey. At 5’9″, 177 pounds, Powell has the opportunity to see the field this season despite a boatload of talent ahead of him. He has the necessary skills to succeed in Kurt Roper‘s offensive scheme. I’m looking forward to seeing No. 20 on the field in the future as we’re that close to football season.