Trieu: Peppers-like traits set UM-bound Kelly-Powell apart

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
Jaylen Kelly-Powell

The commitment of Jaylen Kelly-Powell might not come as a big surprise to those who follow Michigan recruiting.

After all, the Detroit Cass Tech senior safety has long held a Michigan offer, grew up in a household of Michigan fans, and dropped subtle hints about his Michigan affinity along the way, from his multiple visits to Ann Arbor to the Michigan gloves and gear he often dons during Detroit Cass Tech games.

That said, Michigan has heard that story before. Not every recruit who has grown up a Michigan fan and gets a Michigan offer has ended up a Michigan signee, so Kelly-Powell’s official announcement Tuesday puts to rest any chance of a sudden turn in his recruitment.

“It has to feel like home, somewhere to continue my legacy and complete my vision on and off the field,” he said in his commitment video.

The Wolverine staff, including head coach Jim Harbaugh, attended his city championship game against Detroit King, and Harbaugh has established a good relationship with the coaches.

“With them, it’s great. We talk about everything, not just football, but school, academics and life,” Kelly-Powell said. “They (didn’t) ever pressure me like that. We just all got to know each other.”

For the Wolverines, he will play the VIPER position Jabrill Peppers plays. After moving from deep safety to in-the-box safety and playing cornerback in certain situations, it is a position for which Kelly-Powell is uniquely qualified.

“Michigan just got a big need filled,” The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb said. “He can play the deep middle, line up on an island, and then play in the box. And to top it off he has an extremely high football IQ.”

In addition to his impact on the field, Kelly-Powell may help the Wolverines in recruiting, as well, as he has connections to two of their top remaining targets. He is teammates with blue-chip wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones and his cousin is heavily-recruited Detroit King cornerback Ambry Thomas.

Cass Tech star Jaylen Kelly-Powell picks Michigan

Thomas and Kelly-Powell have expressed a desire to play at the same school in college if that situation can be worked out.

Kelly-Powell takes his official visit to Michigan on Dec. 11, he will play in the Under Armour All-American Game on Jan. 1, then will enroll at Michigan shortly after that and go through spring practices with the team.

He still has unfinished business at Cass Tech, however, as the Technicians take on another undefeated team, Utica Eisenhower on Saturday in a state semifinal game.

Official visits for Indiana game

Michigan will have several official visitors on campus for Saturday game against Indiana.

The list includes five-star running back Cam Akers, a top-five national prospect from Clinton (Miss.), LSU fullback commit Tory Carter and Brooklyn (N.Y.) Poly Prep offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson, who has Michigan high on his list of choices.

More information

Jaylen Kelly-Powell profile

Cam Akers profile

Isaiah Wilson profile

Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at