Covina (Calif.) Charter Oak safety A.J. Powell is the perfect example of sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Even though Powell is only 5-foot-8 and 185 pounds, he is one of the top safety prospects in California.
His size might allow people to underestimate him, but when you see him on film, he's hard to miss. He's all over field making big tackle after big tackle, and that hustle, desire and will to succeed is what drives him.
"I love football," Powell said. "I love that it gives you a chance to be a leader and be who you are. I also love the contact. I'm always out there showing people I'm all business. I don't like anybody in my zone. If you catch it, then it's night, night. I'm going to pop you and pop you hard."
Powell is starting to get some good attention from recruiters. He's got three early scholarship offers from New Hampshire, UTEP and Colorado State.
"I have no idea how New Hampshire got interested in me," he said. "They were talking to my coach, and then the next thing you know I'm talking to their coaches for about an offer. I've tried to look into the school a little bit when I get a chance. It seems like a really cool plays, but it's really, really far away."
A school a little closer to home that's made a big impression is UTEP and assistant coach DeChon Burns.
"I love coach Burns," Powell said. "He's amazing. He's just… I don't even know where to start. I love him so much. He lets know you how it is. He tells me, 'You're short, but you have the most heart of anybody that we're recruiting.' I know I'm short, but I play like I'm 6-3."
Powell said he doesn't know much about Colorado State at this point. He'll be in Colorado for the Buffaloes contact camp next week and he hopes to get a chance to make a side trip to Fort Collins to visit the Rams' campus.
He's also talking with Washington State, New Mexico, Idaho and Iowa State. He said the Cougars are closest to offering.
"I've been talking to Malik Roberson, and he's really nice," Powell said. "He tells me a lot about their system. We've built a good relationship. I'm supposed to call him this Saturday. They're having a team meeting to talk about new offers on defense."