JUL. 4, 2015- RECRUIT 757.COM

New arrival Jalen Powell looks to make an impact for the Crabbers


by Jamaar Hawkins, recruit757

Jalen Powell was an all-conference lineman for Thomas Edison High School in Northern Virginia last year. The Eagles’ 2014 season ended with a brutal playoff loss to Tuscarora.  After two seasons at Edison, Powell and his parents deemed a change of scenery a necessity, transferring to Hampton to play for legendary head coach Mike Smith.

The Powell family moved from Hampton to the Northern Virginia area almost twenty years ago, but Jalen will now return to the Peninsula where his father, Keith won two state championships as a Crabber in 1985 and 1986. “Coach Smith is somebody that I really trust. We have a great relationship with him. My parents are also getting older, so we wanted to spend more time with them. Plus, its home. Who wouldn’t want to play at home,” Keith Powell stated.

Edison compiled a 6-14 record during Powell’s two seasons with the program. The Eagles’ 145 points scored last season was the school’s lowest output since 2010. The program also suffered coaching changes in both seasons, a lack of consistency that ultimately resulted in the loss of Powell as well.

“It was tough leaving all of my friends at Edison,” Jalen noted. “But I feel this was a decision that I had to make for my future. It’s not easy, but its business” With his father adding, “The decision really came after terminating the second coach. We just wanted him to get the opportunity to be a part of a great program, and have a chance to play at the next level,” his father said.

What better model of consistency than Smith, who has led the Crabbers football program for the better part of four decades. Under Smith, Hampton has won 12 state titles, including a run of four straight from 1995-98. “Coach Smith is someone that is going to be tough on you, but he is fair. He also loves his players. But the biggest difference at Hampton is those guys expect to win. Back when I played, there wasn’t a “giveaway game”. We expected to win every single game that we played. That’s something that I mentioned to Jalen before coming down here.”

Both father and son gravitated towards the center position, with Jalen learning the nuances of the position from his father during their two years together at Thomas Edison. “We’re best friends,” his father noted. “Sometimes we get the dad and son relationship mixed up {laughing}, but that’s my guy. I think what will ultimately separate my playing career from Jalen’s is his ability to get it done in the classroom. Academically, he is way ahead of where I was in high school.”

The 6-foot-2, 280-pound rising junior has camped at James Madison, Norfolk State, ODU, and Towson, this spring. Powell is also hearing from William and Mary, Hampton, and claims a “soft” offer from Delaware State. “I really like Towson. It’s a welcoming environment, and I’ve had family go there. William and Mary is a good school with great academics. Hampton is also a good school, and now I’m right down the street from there.”

Powell started training with the Crabbers recently and immediately noticed the difference in skill level from his days at Edison. “Even just out here at the (recruit757 CPAC) camp, the guys were a lot bigger and faster than what I was used to the past two days. Working with Coach Gale really helped with my initial punch and set. Hopefully, I’ll have a pretty big season next year.”



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