The University of Washington defense offers so many strong suits, players who can shed blockers, make tackles, and run and cover.
Yet a pet peeve for some of the defenders who came before them is that not everyone on that side of the ball likes to hit. It’s noticeable by the angles they take on a tackle. Well, it happens.
Mishael Powell does not have that problem whatsoever.
In the final scrimmage available for media viewing a week ago, the walk-on cornerback from Seattle’s O’Dea High School slammed into Michigan transfer Giles Jackson. He left the new wide receiver face down, sprawled on the artificial surface, without the football.
Four possessions later, Powell threw his well-muscled 6-foot-1, 200-pound frame into Kansas junior-college transfer tight end Quentin Moore, who was four inches taller and 50 pounds heavier.
Moore hung onto the ball, but he lost his wind and maybe his sense of awareness. A pair of trainers had to gingerly walk him to the sideline.
Each time from the stands after these painful exchanges, a loud voice bellowed out, “Real Dawgs smell blood!!!”
This was Darrell Powell, Mishael’s father and once a talented player himself from a well-known Seattle football family, as exuberant and in your face as his cornerback son.
Cheered on by his father, the younger Powell is attempting to do what linebacker Eddie Ulofoshio and tight end Jack Westover have accomplished in the previous 20 months.
Each earned a Husky scholarship the hard way.
Similar to those guys, Powell turned down other college offers, namely a handsome package from Columbia and the Ivy League that was presented to him because he was also a scholar, much to the chagrin of his parents.
Powell redshirted his first year, then led the UW defensive backs with fall-camp interceptions 12 months ago, pilfering four, but he didn’t appear in any of the four pandemic-season games.
Four months ago, he ran with the No. 1 defense throughout spring practice as the Huskies chose to rest All-America candidate Trent McDuffie and give his understudy more of an opportunity to shine.
This Powell hails from a family that used to rule football in the city. His father Darrell was a three-year starter running the Wishbone offense and a two-time All-Metro quarterback for Garfield High School, and his uncle Kevin was an all-conference running back.
The Powell brothers teamed at Garfield with linebacker Bruce Harrell, an eventual Husky stalwart and currently the favorite to be elected Seattle’s next mayor, and Anthony Allen, another future UW and NFL wide receiver.
They played for Al Roberts, once a UW running back who on two separate occasions became a Husky assistant coach for Don James and Jim Lambright. Roberts coached Mishael at O’Dea, where he remains an assistant coach
All of these previous-generation Powells and other luminous football names shared in what is regarded as the greatest high school football game ever played in Seattle. They lost a four-overtime championship game 42-35 to Blanchet High and future Husky tailback Joe Steele, one that was played before 13,000 people at Memorial Stadium beneath the Space Needle. Mishael practiced on the same field with the Huskies two weeks ago.
Darrell Powell, himself a high achiever, graduated from Tennessee State with an undergraduate degree and earned an MBA from Harvard. He’s now the chief finance officer for the YMCA of Seattle. And an overly encouraging father.
Mishael Powell should play in his first Husky game soon and make life painful for someone other than his teammates. A football scholarship can’t be too far off. Real Dawgs also smell scholarships, too.
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