Florida Football: Ronald Powell embodied the Gator spirit

The former number one overall prospect had his career plagued with injuries but he never stopped grinding

Nov 2, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Florida Gators linebacker Ronald Powell (7) gets the crowd
Nov 2, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Florida Gators linebacker Ronald Powell (7) gets the crowd / Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Once upon a time, getting players like Ronald Powell to join Florida football was the norm and not a weird anomaly. But even though getting top end talent was standard in 2010, Powell stood out even among them as a potential future hall of famer if things broke correctly.

While injuries took away from his true potential, he never stopped grinding on and off the field to maximize what ability he did have.

Florida Football: Gone Too Soon

It was announced that Powell passed away this weekend at the age of 32. His cause of death is not known at this time.

Powell came to the Gators as part of the class of 2010 from Moreno Valley, CA. He was considered the number one overall prospect in that class with offers from USC (the one with academics), Notre Dame, Tennessee, and Miami among others.

He saw the field right away as a true freshman and played in all 13 games in 2010, recording 25 tackles and one sack. He upped that production to 32 tackles, nine of which were for a loss, and six sacks in 2011 and seemed poised for a breakout season in 2012.

But then, in the Spring of 2012, Powell tore his ACL during the Spring Game and had another setback during his recovery that ensured he didn't see the field in 2012.

He returned in 2013 and there were flashes of his explosiveness, but the overall consistency did take a dip and Powell never quite ascended to his lofty billing coming out of high school.

That's not to be confused for his work ethic to get back on the field and there were moments where Powell did look every bit like the best player in the country.

Powell would get a brief stint in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints, but injuries relegated him to the practice squad for the bulk of his time in the NFL.

His last stint with professional football was in 2019 with the Orlando Apollos in the AAF.