While former University of South Dakota wide receiver Will Powell may have ended his playing days in the United States after the 2012 season, the USD leader in touchdown receptions has taken his talents to France.
Powell left for Nimes, France Jan. 10 to play professional football for the Nimes Centurions.
Powell’s legacy at the University of South Dakota didn’t start in college, but in high school. Sophomore Keyen Lage grew up in Sioux Falls and said he always heard the hype of Powell during his high school years.
“I’m from the same town as (Powell), so obviously I heard about him a lot while I was in high school, and I knew his big hype and everything (Powell) did,” Lage said.
Lage said while he never met Powell until he arrived at USD in 2012, Powell was an immediate influence.
“I really looked up to him, so when I got here all the hype and everything was true. He’s a great guy, always there when I needed help. He was a great motivational person,” Lage said.
Lage also said when Powell talked, the team listened — all ears — all of the time.
Offensive Coordinator Wesley Beschorner said Powell came to USD as a true first-year, playing both safety and wide receiver.
“We started him as a safety, but in the second game of the year he played as a receiver, and the third game he started and continued to do so,” Beschorner said.
Powell was more than just a wide receiver for the team — he was a leader and a player who was passionate for what he did, Beschorner said.
“(Powell) saw football through a different light than other players do. He spent a lot of time working, not only in the weight room, but running and in the film room,” Beschorner said. “He did a tremendous job and went above and beyond what coaches asked him to do.”
Powell finished his career at USD, starting all four years, as the recipient of all-conference honors three times and was named the team’s most valuable player twice. He had 158 career receptions, 2,251 receiving yards and ended as the all-time leader in touchdown receptions for USD, finishing with 21.
Powell also spent his senior year playing with a knee injury and had to have cartilage removed, but that didn’t stop him on the field, head coach Joe Glenn said.
“You go on top and look at what he did as a receiver here, and all of the time with cartilage on his knee, playing less than 100 percent and yet laying it all on the line for the Coyotes. You’ve really got to love a guy like that,” Glenn said.
That was not the only injury Powell sustained while he was at USD. Strength and conditioning coach Jevon Bowman said his favorite moment with Powell was a time he got injured.
“My favorite moment with him was at Minnesota when he dislocated his finger and he held onto my hand while Bruce, our head trainer, put it back into place. He screamed like a girl, went back in and caught a touchdown right afterwards,” Bowman said.
Powell’s time at USD is one which will always be remembered — his teammates, coaches and friends all look to him as an inspiration, Glenn said.
“He was a leader on this team,” he said. “He’s a classy guy who always had a smile on his face, always had a great attitude and he made coaching fun.”
Follow reporter Kelsey Kroger on Twitter @kkroger34