Coach's Corner: Shaq Powell

Shaquille Powell

The nation's No. 44 rated RB and three star commit Shaq Powll will challenge for PT early on according to his position coach. So what will it take for the Reno product to get on the field this fall? What was it that made Duke work so hard to land Powell? TDD sat down with RB coach Zac Roper to get the answers.

Name: Shaquille Powell
Position: Running Back
Ht/Wt: 5-foot-10, 205 pounds
Projected 2012 Status: Possibly in rotation

Early Evaluation: "With Shaq, we were out West scouting another player and saw him in person for the first time. As soon as we saw him, we wanted to get more eyes on him to start the evaluation process."

"During the summer we really stepped up our interest after watching his tape and speaking to his coach, Coach Sanchez. When you saw his tape you saw a kid who wasn't going to disappoint you. He has explosiveness and runs with power and great balance. He has very quick feet, and at that level the first guy wasn't going to be able to tackle him."

"The more you watched him, the more you saw that just how much his strength and balance showed out. Overall his game has many more strengths than weaknesses. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield, which is right in our wheel house. He's a very intelligent player who seemed to always make plays." - Zac Roper

The Expectations: "Just like with Jela, we feel Shaq has the tools to become an all-Conference back. Both of them will come into camp with a chance to play as a true freshman, and we've got a history of letting the best guys play. It's always an adjustment for players making the jump in level with everyone being bigger and faster, but both of these guys feel like good enough players to come in and challenge. If they are in the top of the rotation; can get tough yards between the tackles; and can make big plays, then they'll play." - Zac Roper

The Transition's Biggest Challenge: "Every young running back has to put in a lot of time getting his body right and making sure he picks up the offense. At this level they have to be able to protect the passer and understand the timing and the blocking schemes. " - Zac Roper

Recruiting Recap: Powell committed to Duke in early December after taking an official visit to Durham earlier in the month. Throughout that time, it was anyone's guess where the three star back would end up.

"Everybody says that when you know you found the right school you're going to feel it, and I think that's what really happened when I was at Duke," he told Scout.com after committing.

"I visited a couple schools officially and unofficially and I never got that feeling like I did with Duke, and that's how I knew personally that it was the right place to go to."

Similarly to his demeanor throughout the recruiting process, Powell kept his feelings close to the vest during the trip.

"I had my poker face on throughout the whole visit, so I never really gave a great reaction to him (David Cutcliffe) like I should have," Powell explains. "When I told him, it was the last day and I was the last person to leave and I was the last person to meet with the head coach. I just came out and told him, he was really shocked and surprised and happy."

Powell (5-11 195) chose Duke over offers from Arizona State, Fresno State, Illinois, NAU, San Diego State, UNLV, Utah and Vanderbilt.

Senior Season: As a senior Powell rushed for 2,458 yards and scored 40 TDs helping Gorman, ranked in Scout.com's national top 25, to the state championship. For his efforts, the Blue Devil commit was named as the Gatorade State Player of the Year in Nevada.

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