Powell brings set of very particular skills to Iowa

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By Marc Morehouse and Scott Saville

IOWA CITY — In due time, we’ll find out more on Iowa wide receiver Damond Powell.

During Thursday’s media day, he was sort of a legend.

“The first thing I thought was, ‘Wow, the guy can really run.’ That’s a good thing,” first-year wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy said upon first viewing Powell’s recruiting video. “You’re not sitting there going, ‘How fast is he?’ If you’re fast, you’re fast. That’s been a nice development on the Iowa football front.”

Yes, it is.

Still, Powell is a first-year player who didn’t arrive in Iowa City until about a week before camp opened on Aug. 5. On paper, he might be exactly what Iowa’s offense needs.

Powell is a Toledo, Ohio, native who came to Iowa from Snow College (Ephraim, Utah). Last season for Snow, he led the Badgers with 1,231 receiving yards and finished No. 1 in the nation with 30.0 yards on 41 receptions. He earned first-team Western States Football League for Snow College (10-1, 8-0). Powell caught three passes for 150 yards, including a 75-yard TD reception, in the Badgers’ 47-21 victory over ASA College in the Carrier Dome Bowl. Snow finished the season ranked No. 3 in the NJCAA.

Powell will be a junior, but does have three years to play two seasons. But Iowa needs his particular skill set now.

“We wouldn’t typically recruit a junior college player unless we felt they had that opportunity, so that motivated us there,” head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “The challenge is how quickly can he catch up to the speed of what we’re doing and then also learn what we’re doing.

“There are certain players, you just won’t expect to get beaten out. The three guys we took to Chicago (linebackers James Morris, Christian Kirksey and offensive tackle Brett Van Sloten), if they get beaten out, that would be a story. That would be worth reporting on. It’s the other ones that are worth watching right now, I think, and that’s what we’re interested to see.”

The consistent review on Powell during media day was “fast.” Iowa could use that particular skill set.

”He can run fast. He does like football, and we’ve got to find some ways to still use his talents,” offensive coordinator Greg Davis said. ”He doesn’t understand everything right now. So it’s our job to bring him along, but even while we’re bringing him along, to make sure we have some things to say ‘Hey, this is your play.”’

Powell was top five in national juco stats in yards per catch (30.0, No. 1), receiving yards (1,231, No. 3), touchdowns (14, No. 3) and yards per game (102.6, 4th).

Iowa had 90 pass plays of 10-plus yards last season, 90th in the nation. Oklahoma led the country with 196. In 2011, Iowa had 124 and in ’10 it had 123.

“He is good underneath, but he’s also really good deep,” Kennedy said. “He’s a guy who can stretch the field. What I’ve been impressed with is he goes up and makes acrobatic catches. He uses his hands well.”

Powell wasn’t available to media on Thursday due to Ferentz’s policy of keeping first-year players off limits for interviews.

When he committed, Powell told HawkeyeReport.com, “They like my speed. Just being able to be a playmaker, catching the ball and getting yards after the catch, that’s what they said they need.”

That’s what they need.

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