Blue Chip countdown: UM's Kelly-Powell locks it down

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Jaylen Kelly-Powell was a shutdown corner at Cass Tech.

The Detroit News continues its countdown of the top 15 Blue Chip recruits for 2017 with Jaylen Kelly-Powell of Detroit Cass Tech at No. 4.

It would be safe to say Jaylen Kelly-Powell of Detroit Cass Tech was highly recruited, actually offered by more than 40 schools, including Alabama, before finally deciding in November to play for Michigan.

Kelly-Powell, a 6-foot, 180-pound four-star defensive back, has already enrolled and is taking classes, learning the playbook and working on his conditioning.

“It’s a great place to get an education," said Kelly-Powell, who was recruited by Michigan as a safety, corner and nickel. “Michigan has a great program, a great staff and they know how to develop players. I just feel really comfortable with the coaches there and that was important to me.

“I enrolled early to get a head start in school, also get a head start with football, really to get comfortable with everything.”

Kelly-Powell was a shutdown corner his senior year, helping the Technicians win the Division 1 state championship with a 14-0 record. He was in on 52 tackles, also breaking up 22 passes while intercepting three passes to earn a spot on The Detroit News Dream Team. He also rushed for 587 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 11 yards a carry.

Kelly-Powell had 43 offers heading into his senior year.

Kelly-Powell took his time with the recruiting process while helping Cass Tech win the state championship. The Technicians pulled out victories in the regional final over Saline (43-42) and state semifinal over Utica Eisenhower (32-28) before dominating Detroit Catholic Central, 49-20, in the state championship game at Ford Field.

Kelly-Powell was a standout running back while playing Little League football before his high school days.

Cass Tech head coach Thomas Wilcher saw potential on the defensive side with Kelly-Powell and he responded.

Kelly-Powell was outstanding in every position Wilcher put him in, including cornerback, safety and nickel on defense, and running back and slot on offense.

“I felt we really came together in the Saline game, the Eisenhower game, to pull them out, and that says a lot,” Kelly-Powell said while reflecting on the season.

Kelly-Powell wanted nothing more than to lift the ultimate trophy coming out of Ford Field, especially after having a team-high nine tackles in the 41-27 state title game loss to Romeo his junior year.

“It was such a great feeling to win the state championship,” Kelly-Powell said. “My teammates and I really bonded together, had the same struggles and same common goals and it felt great to see that all the hard work paid off.”

Blue Chip countdown: Cass Tech's Johnson prowls secondary

Kelly-Powell rushed for 71 yards on seven carries and had a 32-yard reception, which led to a TD in a 41-20 PSL championship game win over Detroit King at Ford Field, avenging a loss to King in the city league title game the previous season.

Kelly-Powell is a fit academically at Michigan, finishing with a 3.9 grade-point average at Cass Tech.

“It’s a great fit for him both academically and football-wise,” Wilcher said after Kelly-Powell committed to the Wolverines. “He’s very coachable, smart, tough and strong, just a complete player.”


No. 4: Jaylen Kelly-Powell, DB, Detroit Cass Tech (Michigan)

No. 5: Donovan Johnson, DB, Detroit Cass Tech (Penn State)

No. 6: Antjuan Simmons, LB, Ann Arbor Pioneer (Michigan State)

No. 7: Cody White, WR, Walled Lake Western (Michigan State)

No. 8: Corey Malone-Hatcher, DE/LB, St. Joseph (Michigan)

No. 9: Jordan Reid, OT, Detroit Cass Tech (Michigan State)

No. 10: Deron Irving-Bey, DE, Flint Southwestern (Michigan)

No. 11: Phillip Paea, DT, Berrien Springs (Michigan)

No. 12: Hunter Rison, WR, Ann Arbor Skyline (Michigan State)

No. 13: JaRaymond Hall, OL, Oak Park (Michigan)

No. 14: Scott Nelson, S, U-D Jesuit (Wisconsin)

No. 15: Rodney Hall, QB, Detroit Cass Tech (Northern Illinois)