Kirk Ferentz was asked last fall about recruiting junior colleges. He said the Hawkeyes were looking.
The Hawkeyes did some finding.
Snow College (Ephraim, Utah) wide receiver Damond Powell committed to the Hawkeyes in December, he announced on his Twitter account. Powell, who’ll have three years to play two, will report to Iowa City in June. Last season for Snow, he Powell 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.
Iowa offered on Sunday. Powell (5-11, 175 pounds) accepted, with Ohio being his only other offer. According to HawkeyeReport.com, Iowa coaches told Powell he’d have a chance to play next season. Wide receiver is a need position for the Hawkeyes. Junior Kevonte Martin-Manley led the Hawkeyes with 52 catches for 571 yards and two TDs. After Martin-Manley, Iowa’s next wide receiver was senior Jordan Cotton, who caught 12 passes for 172 yards and a TD. After Cotton, sophomore Tevaun Smith came in the three catches for 31 yards.
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).
Powell also broke the not-so-secret that wide receivers coach Erik Campbell wouldn't be returning to the Hawkeyes next season.
"Coach Brian Ferentz called me and told me that Coach Campbell was no long with the program," Powell HawkeyeReport.com. "I was shocked. I had developed a good bond with him and I was looking forward to playing for him and he was looking forward to me playing for him."
Powell initially wavered, but after visiting with Brian Ferentz in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio, he decided not to take any other visits and signed with Iowa.
Scouting snippet (from ESPN.com)
Powell graded at a 77 on ESPN's scouting scale and was a three-star prospect. ESPN also rated him the No. 18 juco WR, No. 7 in his region and No. 3 in Utah.
Powell is originally from Toledo, where he graduated from Rogers High School. He spent the last two years at Snow Junior College. This season, he put up big numbers with 41 catches for 1,231 yards and 14 touchdowns, which led to interest from the Hawkeyes.
"Late in the season, coach Campbell started showing some interest and told me he was going to come to our bowl game," Powell told HawkeyeReport.com. "He came out to New York to the Carrier Dome and I had a good game, so he said he was going to get me out there for an official visit. That's what led to this weekend."
Along with extending a scholarship offer during the visit this weekend, the Iowa coaching staff also went over how they see Powell fitting into the offense next year.
"They like my speed," said Powell, who will arrive in Iowa City next June. "Just being able to be a playmaker, catching the ball and getting yards after the catch, that's what they said they need."
Powell also had an offer from Ohio.
What Iowa said . . .
Recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson: “You're bringing in a junior-college guy for a reason. You're bringing him in with the hopes that he'll play right away." Is he a wide receiver screen waiting to happen? "He has legitimate speed. We're just trying to extend plays with speed and athleticism. We think he brings that." The juco thing, you go there for positions of need? "Exactly." Did you try with DEs? "It was a position of need. We ended up just not finding guys we felt comfortable with. We're not going to bring someone in who's a crapshoot unless we feel 100 percent comfortable with that person."
What Toledo (Ohio) Blade said . . .
Some good stuff. Here's the link.
The 2010 All-Blade wide receiver reportedly made his decision after visiting Iowa on a recruiting trip over the weekend. The 5-foot-11, 175-pounder caught 41 passes for 1,231 yards (30.2 yards-per-catch), including 14 for touchdowns during his sophomore season this fall at Snow.
“I think Damond was one of the most explosive players I've ever coached and he's got great hands,” said former Rogers coach Rick Rios. “Damond has a great work ethic.”
Also, "On the field, he was an explosive vertical threat that no team could stop,” said Clay Bayard, Snow's passing game/wide receivers coach via email. “Off the field, Damond was a great friend and a teammate to everyone and was very well liked.”
“At the next phase he will only get better,” Bayard said. “He will be more than just a vertical threat. His routes have improved over his time here, and they will only get better.”
Powell caught 36 passes for a school-record 842 yards, including a school-record 16 touchdowns, during his senior season at Rogers. Rios believes Powell, who has put on approximately 25 pounds since graduating from Rogers, will continue to hold his own at the next level in his playing career.
What I think (FWIW, obviously) . . .
Remember when Iowa ran the tunnel screen a lot? That play has been stowed. Does a receiver with Powell's skill set bring that back into play? At least a few of his highlights are the tunnel screen, which is a WR screen run towards the middle of the field against the grain of the blocking. One thing is for sure, Powell is playing. He does have three years to play two, but WR is a definite need position and Powell is a junior-college transfer with experience. His video reel also shows enough speed to get on top of defenders on the outside, so it might be too early to pin him in as a slot receiver.