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As recruiting slows down, Powers speeds up

Ohio State is off to a fast start when it comes to in-state recruiting in the 2022 class. Right now one of the top priorities is Marysville (Ohio) linebacker Gabe Powers. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound prospect is right in the discussion as Ohio’s top prospect in 2022 and has held an offer from the Buckeyes for several months now.

But for Powers and the rest of the 2022 class, the COVID-19 shutdown has taken away a critical part of the recruiting calendar and that has made things a little slow on that front for the four-star prospect.

“I do some zoom chats, mostly with Ohio State,” Powers said of his recruiting process. “I’m going to be doing one with Georgia Tech. I’ve been on the phone a lot with coaches, just talking about their schools, talking about life and everything. Other than that it’s been pretty slow.”

Ohio State has been among the most consistent schools with Powers. Linebackers coach Al Washington has taken the lead role for the Buckeyes with the rising junior. But the whole staff has made sure to stay involved, especially on the zoom calls.

“Coach Washington, coach Day, their athletics (support staff), education staff, the whole nine yards,” he said. “It shows a lot of love. That’s probably what I’m going to end up doing, going to the place that shows me the most love and they are showing a lot of love so far.”

Powers really hasn’t put a ton of thought into recruiting during the shutdown. With a lot of time left until he needs to make a decision,
he has been pretty open to all comers.

“I haven’t thought about too many schools,” he said. “I want to get out and take some visits but I haven’t really put anything together about specific schools yet. So far the ones that I’ve been talking to a lot are Ohio State, Penn State, Arkansas, West Virginia, those schools have been talking to me a lot. I’ve also been talking to Michigan, Notre Dame, and Clemson.

Penn State is the other Big Ten school, in addition to Ohio State, that seems to come up the most with Powers. The Nittany Lions could be one of the first programs to host him when things open back up.

“I like Penn State because I like their tradition and I like their fans a lot, their fan base a lot,” he stated. “I haven’t been down there yet but I want to do that.”

West Virginia is another program that has Powers’ attention early on.

“They have showed me a lot of love with my brother being there,” he said. “I’ve been trying to get down there as much as possible to see my brother and to see those guys, too. I love the coaching staff. My brother and two of his friends went down there so I know a lot of people there. I also love the location, just love everything about it.”

But most of the focus in recent months has been on staying in shape and preparing for his junior season. At 220-pounds, Powers is one of the biggest players on the field each and every Friday night and he is working hard to be one of the fastest as well.

So for the past six months, Powers has been training with former Olympic sprinter and Ohio State track star, Butch Reynolds.

“It’s very important that you have your speed down as an outside linebacker,” Powers explained. “You have to be able to cover wide receivers who run 4.4. Working with Butch, he has taken a lot off my 40 time already and I’ve only been working with him for about six months.”

Reynolds and Powers are a unique duo. Powers does not have a sprinter type of body. But Reynolds, who worked as a speed coach at Ohio State under Jim Tressel, has experience in molding bigger football bodies and helping them add some finesse.

“My experience at Ohio State really helped me with training bigger guys,” Reynolds explained. “It’s good working with the big guys, because they know they’re slow. So whatever I tell them, they’re going to do it so it’s much easier for me. I get great results from the bigger guys, it’s actually harder working with the speedsters, because they know they’re fast.”

From a physical standpoint, Powers has a lot of great tools to work with, but Reynolds has been more impressed with his mental makeup.

“Gabe is a unique guy,” said Reynolds. “He’s a four or five star athlete as they say. But what I like about him is the mindset. He’s very smart and has a great football mindset and he’s still working hard as though he has a lot to prove.”

“When I get a kid as a sophomore, my goal is to keep his mindset strong and to keep him hungry and working just as hard,” he continued. “Gabe’s mindset is just working even harder. I appreciate that and I know that when it’s time to make that transition and go to the next level, he’s ready to be the best he can be because he knows the mindset of giving it his best.”