Where will the newest Texas Longhorns commit, Odessa Permian athlete Peyton Powell, play when he arrives on the Forty Acres?
The current plan for head coach Tom Herman and offensive coordinator Tim Beck is to give the versatile Powell a chance to play quarterback:
WATCH: @OdessaPermian QB Peyton Powell (@PPowell_) discuss his #HookEm commit. Says he'll start out as quarterback for @TexasFootball, open to possible move to WR. @Big2_Sports @PermianSports #txhsfb@BON_SBNation @Horns247 @InsideTexas @hornsports pic.twitter.com/2srE9zSxTT— Ben Peck (@TheBenPeck) October 24, 2018
The bigger question is whether the 6’2, 182-pounder can stick at that position and whether it provides his best avenue to contributing at Texas to set him up to eventually earn a shot at the NFL.
There are some concerns in the former regard and some more favorable projections at other positions in the latter regard.
Powell played at Midland Christian prior to transferring to Odessa Permian for his senior season, so he didn’t face a particularly high level of competition.
And now he plays in an offense that looks like a short shotgun version of the flexbone, which doesn’t appear to provide many opportunities to throw from the pocket and showcase the traditional mechanics required of quarterbacks.
So that means that Powell often throws on the move. Perhaps as a result, his mechanics need plenty of work — he often delivers his passes from an arm slot that is lower than ideal, for instance — but the most concerning thing is that he just doesn’t spin the football especially well.
In that way, Powell is a little bit reminiscent of Jerrod Heard, who was considered a long-term quarterback and was highly rated coming out of high school as the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback nationally. When looking back on evaluations of Heard, the mechanical and physical limitations as a passer were largely overlooked, but eventually contributed to his move to wide receiver.
Given the presence of a better passer than Powell in Roschon Johnson in the 2019 recruiting class and four scholarship quarterbacks currently on campus and set to return next season, there simply won’t be many reps for Powell in practice to develop the type of mechanical proficiency and overall juice needed to remain at the position.
So the consideration that Powell will almost certainly have to make early in his career with the Longhorns is whether he wants to move to wide receiver, where he would have a better chance of contributing early and continuing his career at the next level.
Of course, there would be a learning curve there, as well, but Powell’s experience at quarterback should help him understand the game at a high level and his elite athleticism would ease the transition.
At a regional event for The Opening, Powell ran a 4.45 40-yard dash, a 4.25 shuttle, and posted a 37.6-inch vertical leap. On film, he’s also shown a high-level ability to step through would-be tacklers. The combination of speed and tackle-breaking ability could make Powell an extremely effective wide receiver in picking up yards after the catch and a home-run threat on every touch.
And, of course, there’s another possibility — Powell could move to defensive back, the position at which several schools recruited him because his height and athleticism would put him in a rare category, especially at cornerback.
So while it’s not clear which position Powell will end up playing at Texas, his skill set makes him an extremely intriguing prospect and his versatility makes him an easy take.
After all, just about any coach in the country would take an athlete with the speed and height of Powell and figure the rest out later.