football

Top juco linebacker heading to USC

After waiting for one dream school, another dream school came into play for the nation’s top junior college linebacker. So when USC offered Mission Viejo (Calif.) Saddleback College linebacker Ryan Powdrell a scholarship it didn’t take him long to accept it.
“I really wanted either an offer from Oklahoma or from USC,” Powdrell, a five-star prospect that is 6-foot-1 and 250 pounds, said. “I had thought Oklahoma was going to come through with an offer, but they didn’t. Then USC offered me last week, and I called them on Thursday and told them I was going to be a Trojan.”
Powdrell, the nation’s No. 5 non high school player according to Rivals.com, said he’ll visit USC now on December 12 and admitted that he’s finished with the recruiting process, even if Oklahoma were to offer a scholarship.
“I’m happy with my decision,” Powdrell said. “I get to stay close to home now, and play for a great team that I’ve always thought about playing for.”
Back in 2002, Powdrell was a highly sought after linebacker from Mission Viejo, Calif. He ran a 4.63-second 40-yard dash, had a vertical leap of 30 inches and also could bench-press 320 pounds and squat 580 pounds.
But things weren’t going so well on the academic front and Powdrell allowed that to become a problem both on and off the field. By the time he enrolled at Saddleback after not qualifying at Fresno State, he was pushing 270 pounds, according to his coach Mark McElroy
Then the light flicked on.
Powdrell realized he has the talent to be a major Division I linebacker, but he knew the way to do that was to work hard, drop some weight, get stronger and focus on the academics.
Now two years later, he’s one of the nation’s top junior college prospects and arguably the best linebacker in the land and his coach couldn’t be any prouder.
“He’s dropped about 20 pounds since high school and has replaced it with all muscle,” McElroy said about Powdrell. “It’s like he’s transformed from a kid into a man. He’s now all of 6-foot-1, 250 pounds and runs a 4.56-second 40-yard dash.
“He’s athletic and can run around like a deer out on the football field.”
The transformation has gone a long way toward improving Powdrell’s outlook on life, too, his coach said.
“He’s a high character kid,” McElroy said. “He’s done everything you can ask of a kid to become one of the best players out there and one of the best people, too. I’ve coached for a long time and a lot of great players, but he’s the best linebacker that I’ve ever coached.”
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