Buford (Ga.) linebacker Jackson Powell was overwhelmed with offers from FBS schools.
Atlantic Coast Conference schools Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia Tech and Louisville were among the programs that showed interest in Powell.
As Powell started narrowing down his college choices, one school stood out from the jump and it wasn’t from the ACC.
Army had recruited Powell, “non-stop” since offering him in January. Offensive coordinator Brent Davis was also the recruiter for Powell’s brother, Dean, an Army sophomore guard competing for a starting position in the preseason.
Playing with his brother in college could be a once-in-lifetime opportunity. Jackson was called up to Buford’s varsity team as a freshman. But, playing time was limited in Dean’s senior year.
When Jackson took his official visit in June, Dean was in the field for his military training. That gave Jackson a chance to look at what life would be at West Point after his brother graduated.
“I didn’t choose Army because of him but his input and that he was able to give me was a big component,” said Powell, who announced his commitment on August 1. “I will hopefully have two years of him not being with me on the team so I wasn’t going to choose Army just because him alone.
“Obviously it’s going to be an awesome experience for both of us just because we’re so close and tight-knit. He’s going to be able to help me with football or any personal issues.”
Powell leaned on his older brother for advice and perspective on West Point.
“I have a lot of trust in him,” said Powell, who is 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds. “He wasn’t going to tell me anything just to get me to come there. He was completely honest with me with everything. I trust his judgment and all the experiences that he went through. He was a big help for me to be able to make the decision.”
Powell, who has a 4.0 grade-point average, was pulled toward Army by its academics and the program’s success the past three seasons with 29 wins.
“The education part of college was a big factor for me and also how the program is looking,” Powell said “They are obviously on the uptick.”
Building relationships with Army’s coaching staff also helped Powell make his decision.
“They just kept badgering me and made sure I knew that I was one of their top priorities,” Powell said. “They made it more than just about football and what I can provide to the team but also what the school could do for me in the future and while I’m there growing me as a young man.”
Powell’s choosing Army over Power Five offers is a sign of the Black Knights’ ever-improving recruiting. Pittsburgh was the only ACC school that made Powell’s top four or five, he said.
“I think most of us (commits) have the same mindset as underdogs and working our tails off and proving other people wrong,” Powell said. “We have a mindset to just keep building Army football up and don’t let it slack off.”