2017 Season Countdown: #66 Jaylen Kelly-Powell

2017 Season Countdown: #66 Jaylen Kelly-Powell

June 22, 2017

Jaylen Kelly-Powell (image via Rivals)

Name: Jaylen Kelly-Powell
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 175 lbs.
High school: Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Position: Safety
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #16
Last year: Kelly-Powell was a senior in high school. He made 62 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 26 pass breakups. And yes, his stats make a palindrome.
TTB Rating: 77

Kelly-Powell was long considered a Michigan lock, but tried to keep everyone in suspense. He bounced back and forth a little bit from safety to corner in high school, but mostly he played a strong safety position. He also played a little bit of running back. He went to The Opening in Oregon and was an Under Armour All-American, but he did not stand out at either event.

As an early enrollee this spring, the word coming out of Schembechler Hall was that Kelly-Powell is a solid player but still very light. He needs to get bigger and would probably be headed for a redshirt if not for a shallow pool of applicants at the safety positions. Michigan’s top three safeties are junior Tyree Kinnel, sophomore Josh Metellus, and redshirt sophomore Jordan Glasgow, and after that, it’s unclear. Kelly-Powell won’t break into that top three, but we’ll see if he’s at #4 or below. I would prefer to see him redshirt, especially since the three guys certain to be ahead of him will still be on the roster in 2018. But I won’t be surprised at all to see Kelly-Powell get some run on special teams or late in decided games.

Prediction: Backup safety, special teamer


  1. Painter Smurf
    Comments: 191
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Painter Smurf
    Jun 22, 2017 at 11:27 PM

    Was surprised to see how small he looked in the spring game. Guessing 5’11, 170. Webb pumped him up as a viper target during the recruitment, so that probably warped my expectations. Looks like a solid, long term prospect. Reportedly has good cover skills for the position.

  2. Comments: 3181
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Jun 23, 2017 at 12:42 AM

    It’s crazy that we are going to have 4 (5?) new starters in the secondary and will rely on true freshman, failed WRs, or walk-ons to backup most of them.

    Even more crazy than all that is bringing in relatively few DB recruits, meaning that most of these freshman are all but guaranteed a role on the 2-deep. Very little competition. Very un-Harbaugh. I’m still confused about why it went down this way.

    • Painter Smurf
      Comments: 191
      Joined: 8/12/2015
      Painter Smurf
      Jun 23, 2017 at 7:17 AM

      Harbaugh has brought in complete sets of DB’s in the ’16 and ’17 classes, including five or so blue chippers. It is a young group, but this type of void stems from losing six multi-year starters at DB this off season. To have so many contributors bolt simultaneously is super unusual. Just the way things worked out.

      • Comments: 3181
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Jun 23, 2017 at 1:10 PM

        Long was close to being top 50 and had offers from blue-blood programs like USC. You can argue he’s a blue-chipper but it’s a bit of a strain. Otherwise Thomas is the only other top 100 prospect they got and that was barely.

        MIchigan got guys they liked but there is no margin for error to be wrong. This is the same situation as we were in at QB (Shane Morris) and OL (Kalis/Magnuson class). This staff is better than that staff but it’s still a mistake to not account for inevitable misses.

    • Comments: 2083
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jun 23, 2017 at 8:32 AM

      I’m kind of with Painter Smurf here. Michigan has brought in a bunch of defensive backs: David Long, Lavert Hill, Jaylen Kelly-Powell, J’Marick Woods, Ambry Thomas, Benjamin St-Juste, Brad Hawkins, Josh Metellus, and Khaleke Hudson. That’s 9 defensive backs in two classes, with 1 guy (Hudson) being a S/LB hybrid. I think that’s plenty of defensive backs, not “relatively few.” Whether they’re the exact right guys or not, it’s too early to say, but they won’t fail due to a lack of overall numbers.

    • Comments: 3181
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Jun 23, 2017 at 1:05 PM

      I think under normal/ideal conditions you can make something of a case for taking 1 guy per position per year. That’d be 88 guys and it doesn’t account for specialists, etc. But as a rough draft it’s a decent start.

      9 Players in 2 years for 5 positions is short-changing a little bit, but it’s enough under normal circumstances. It is not enough when you know you have a giant senior class on the way out.

      Contrast that with WR where they’ve take 7 guys in 2 years for 2 positions. (Crawford, McDoom, Johnson, DPJ, Black, Collins, Martin).

      This is roster mismanagement.

      You need more DBs than WRs. This is particularly true for a TE/FB-heavy offense.

      • JC
        Comments: 121
        Joined: 8/17/2015
        Jun 26, 2017 at 9:48 AM

        Here we go. You’re right. Someone should pass this info along to Brandon Jacobs, Harbaugh is sure to be fired now. The roster has been mismanaged.

        Or, maybe you shouldn’t overload every position where there is a minor deficit, because then you’ll be in constant flux with number of bodies when that overload graduates.

        There are 7 bodies at cornerback right now. 2 juniors, 2 sophomores, 3 freshmen. There are 6 bodies at safety right now. 1 junior, 2 sophomores, 3 freshmen. That’s 13 bodies to man (typically) 4 positions on the field.

        There are no seniors there, and the highest number of any class is freshmen for both corners and safeties. I don’t think this roster is mismanaged at all. Harbaugh addressed a need.

        13/85 = 15%. 4/24 = 17%.

        As I previously mentioned, there are no seniors. So next year, if Harbaugh brings in 3 DBs (which are already in the recruiting class), there will be 16 DBs with no attrition.

        16/85 = 19%. 4/24 = 17%.

        With a TE/FB heavy team you need more DBs than WRs? We have 1 scholarship FB on the roster in Ben Mason. There are 5 TEs on the roster, and there are times this team likes to run 3-TE sets. We have 9 WRs on the roster. Sometimes we may run a 5 wide set.

        Alabama has 16 DBs on the roster this year, including 4 freshmen and 4 seniors. They have 6 TEs. They have 9 receivers. But he probably mismanages his roster, too.

        I see no problem with how the staff is addressing the roster. I think Saban and Harbaugh know what they’re doing.

        • Comments: 3181
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Jun 26, 2017 at 10:59 AM

          DB is 5 positions. The nickel/viper has been handled by players otherwise classified as corners or safeties. The ostensible 3rd LB/OLB spot has been handled by people like Gant and Furbush who don’t play.

          Michigan got to 15% by switching WRs to the position this offseason including a failed WR who is likely to be on his way out the door after the season.

          When you have an immediate need you sometimes need to overrecruit a bit. The staff knows this, and they did it at WR. IMO they went a little too far, but attrition will sort the situation out. It’s already started with the switches of Harris and Hawkins.

          Saban is recruiting 5-star DBs pretty much across the board. He can afford to short-change the position, and does so to stock up on OL (who are harder to project than DBs).

          The fire-Harbaugh strawman is weak. Great coaches make mistakes. etc

          • JC
            Comments: 121
            Joined: 8/17/2015
            Jun 26, 2017 at 1:19 PM

            The fire Harbaugh was my satirical way of saying Harbaugh is not mismanaging the roster. He moved bodies around to get to the current numbers. Yes. He’s managing the rosters with the available persons to get to numbers close to what he and Nick Saban feel are appropriate. Saban has 5* talent all across the board, except at QB.

            Don Brown’s 4-3 defense looks like a 4-2-5 at times, but to say the viper position is another DB is not factual. Not factual at BC with Milano (LB in the pros now), not factual last year. Peppers was called upon to cover at times, but his main responsibility is to keep the play inside and hold the edge. Like a linebacker.

            I didn’t include K. Hudson in these projections as I believe he’ll be handling full-time Viper duties when they’re not lining up heavy with Furbush or someone else at SLB.

            • Comments: 3181
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Jun 26, 2017 at 1:54 PM

              Peppers and Hudson were both considered DBs as recruits. Their backups are DBs. When Peppers got hurt as a freshman he was replaced by a CB (not under Brown but it indicates his skillset) and as a sophomore by a safety (Metellus).

              Hudson is 205 pounds. Glasgow 210. Peppers 215. Milano 220. These guys look like safeties. Let’s call them what they are.

              Even the tiniest LBs (e.g., Devin Bush, James Ross) have to get up to 230-235 to play.

              Arguing if viper is a LB or DB is ultimately semantics. Let’s agree that the type of player you’re recruiting is either a ultra-tiny LB or big for a CB. Either way, michigan doesn’t need to recruit to fill 3 LB positions where guys project to weigh 230-250 pounds. There’s only 2 spots like that. The overlap for Viper personnel is DB.

              • Comments: 2083
                Joined: 7/13/2015
                Jun 26, 2017 at 3:45 PM

                I don’t really know where I fall in this conversation. Viper is a position unto itself. These guys are NOT linebackers, but they’re also NOT safeties. A safety, by definition, is a guy who’s tasked with deep coverage, at least from time to time. I didn’t watch Boston College much, but I don’t think Milano did safety things at Viper; therefore, he wasn’t a safety. And I’m pretty sure they called him a SAM, anyway.

                Jabrill Peppers may very well have been an outlier. I *think* people are getting the wrong idea about what a Viper is, simply because they watched Peppers play CB, LB, and S last year, but his replacements may not be able to do all those things. For example, if Khaleke Hudson plays Viper but only ever plays in the box and in short zones, then he’s not a safety or a corner. He’s an outside linebacker.

                You’re right that it’s semantics, Lanknows. But I think it’s a little unfair to say that the only overlap at the position is defensive back, when we in fact have seen Noah Furbush playing “Viper,” a.k.a. “SAM.”

                • Comments: 3181
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Jun 26, 2017 at 5:46 PM

                  Was Furbush playing SAM or was he playing Viper?

                  I’ve never heard Brown talk about Furbush as a Viper, or even as a candidate for it. I have heard him talk about him as a SAM.

                  In this defense the SAM’s role is something like nickel CB or slot WR – a player who subs in for certain packages but replaces a different position entirely. The nickel takes the spot of a front-7 player in the nickel package, sometimes even a DT. The slot WR may replace a FB or 2nd TE. But nobody confuses the nickel CB for a DL or LB and nobody thinks the slot WR is a TE or FB.

                  The SAM is the same thing. He might replace the viper in a short-yardage package, but he might also replace a CB or safety. (Often was so with Peppers staying in last year.)

                  That’s my interpretation of it anyway. Maybe Don Brown feels otherwise, but I don’t think anybody should call Furbush a viper. That’s Hudson, backed up by Glasgow.

                • Comments: 3181
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Jun 26, 2017 at 5:50 PM

                  Point taken about Peppers. He might be a unicorn. Hudson might not be, and maybe the SAM shall rise again.

                  I know that Jabril Peppers referred to himself as a SAM at times (though the reference seemed tongue in cheek to me). Peppers probably played some straight-up SAM sometimes. As Thunder says we might not see Hudson replicate that.

                  So OK, let’s wait and see if the SAM is a thing in Peppers-free world. Except there already buzz about Furbush playing at DE. And we’ve already seen a Peppers-free world the last bowl game and there was a lot more Metellus than there was Furbush.

                  Going ahead we’re almost certainly going to get more Hudson than anyone else.

                  So – back to my point – you’re recruiting should reflect the kind of system you want to run. If Michigan wants to play a 4-WR set, they should continue to recruit WRs like they have been. If they want to look like a David Shaw teams they shouldn’t.

                  If Michigan wants to play a DB-like player in their “front 7” they should recruit enough DBs to have strong enough depth for 5 positions. But they shouldn’t pretend like they are going to turn back the clock and recruit 10 LBs who are going to weight 230-240 pounds if they are only going to play 2 of them on 90% of downs.

        • Comments: 3181
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Jun 26, 2017 at 1:38 PM

          5/22 = 23% That would be 19 scholarships.

          You might argue DB is one place to skimp because of overlap between corner/nickel/safety/viper. You might also argue that red-shirts aren’t as needed as at other positions to further your argument. I might be inclined to agree on both fronts.

          The argument for more is special teams and Don Brown’s system supposedly putting a premium on experience in the secondary.

          Regardless, the number shouldn’t be much below 20% of the roster (17) and it definitely shouldn’t be when you know in advance you are going to relying on freshman to start and/or play key backup roles. (As they did at DL and WR)

          16 DBs should be the absolute minimum (8 to play, 8 to develop) and 17-18 is a more realistic target. Our roster now has 13 after switching guys over from WR. Assuming attrition (why would you assume not attrition?) – we’ll continue to be well below 17-18 next year.

          This is suboptimal. Michigan is short changing one of the most important position groups on the field. Not short-changed: LB, DL, WR, TE/FB, RB, QB.

          • Comments: 130
            Joined: 9/15/2015
            Jun 26, 2017 at 2:27 PM

            so what about OL and DL #s?
            im ok with 16 DBs in many situations bc it really is 5 spots and often 6 plus ST duties and whatnot. DL needs about 16 too while OL prob consistently requires a few more.
            i think its pretty obvious those 3 areas should account for more than half a roster.

            take that 50 or so (ie 16/16/18) and then add 4-5 QBs, 6-7 TE / HB, 6-7 RB, 8-10 WR, 9-10 LBs (though most teams rock 4-2-5 in modern game so…) – thats about 85 and prob pretty close (doesnt including scholly specialists). thats just off the top of my head and what i recalled from my old teams but im sure those #s could be better.

            but in a given year many teams go with 5 TE, 3-4 QB, 5-6 RB, etc so the roster constantly shifts. all rosters constantly shift, its impossible to maintain the ideal #s / % at each spot. its not the nfl, theyre college kids and busts, transfers, etc cannot always be accounted for, not to mention theres no waivers, etc.
            programs have to add more numbers than theyd prefer at certain spots in certain years to make sure theyre bringing in sufficient options and to account for transition at that spot, etc. its a crazy juggle. which is why a programs id process and recruiting must be spot on in addition to development.

            i think harbaugh may sign too many RBs and LBs. but hes the pro and seems to be confident and have good understanding of how he wants to manage his roster – which is extremely difficult to do and why hes paid handsomely to not only manage his roster but win big with those guys on the field. so while i might disagree over small issue like 1 scholly here instead of there, im just thrilled hes saturating the QB spot with talent every year…he knows where his breads buttered and wont leave himself short on QB options, unlike hoke.

            • Comments: 3181
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Jun 26, 2017 at 3:53 PM

              OL, DL, and DB are the 3 biggest position groups. They have the highest potential for overlap between positions. So the ratio of scholarships/position can be lower.

              Recent experience tells us it’s been taken a bit too far at OL and DB. DL has been fine since Rodriguez era issues.

              OL probably has the most positional overlap and shuffling. That help to keep their numbers a little bit but it’s offset by near universal red-shirting under normal circumstances.

              “6-7 TE / HB, 6-7 RB, 8-10 WR”

              Those all seem high to me. You gotta decide what your offense is and recruit to that. If you’re gonna have 10 WR you probably shouldn’t also have 6 or 7 TE/FB.

              For RB, I just don’t see a point in carrying 7. The 7th guy is never needed. It’s just such a luxury to carry spots for the sake of competition (looming attrition or mostly failed position-switches).

              9-10 guys for LB is crazy. It’s 2 positions! If any coach took 8 kickers and punters everyone would think they were going senile.

            • Comments: 3181
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Jun 26, 2017 at 3:57 PM

              I think you make a valid point about year to year uncertainty. Not saying you have to have an optimal allocation every year.

              But sometimes you can see this stuff well in advance (like the OL issues under Hoke) and so it’s frustrating to not see them addressed. Especially when you look over at RB, where numbers has never once been a problem no matter who the coach is or what system is run…

            • Comments: 3181
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Jun 26, 2017 at 3:59 PM

              Harbaugh’s great. I think this is a strategic error on his part, but I still wouldn’t trade him for any coach on the planet.

  3. Comments: 15
    Joined: 1/10/2017
    Jun 23, 2017 at 8:20 AM

    To me JKP looks like a blend of Terry Richardson (Cass Tech, always a little too small), Reuben Jones (high-character “culture” guy you want on the roster), and maybe a dash of Devin Gardner (smart guy that blows through undergrad in three years).

    I think he’s really close to his ceiling already. He’s probably hit the weights pretty hard and studied he game well (befitting a smart guy). He looks small-boned, though, unscientific as that may sound. I’d be surprised if he managed to gain more than ten pounds.

    A recruiting miss? Far from it. I just don’t see a high ceiling.

    • Comments: 2083
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jun 23, 2017 at 8:34 AM

      I agree that he doesn’t have a high ceiling. I don’t see anything that he does really well other than seeming to be a solid program guy.

  4. Comments: 14
    Joined: 8/31/2015
    Jun 27, 2017 at 11:06 AM


    De-lurking for a moment…

    I’m no expert on these things, my gut feeling is – in College Ball, you can never have too many DB’s or OLinemen. (A little hyperbole there, 40 DB’s plus 45 OL would be too many). Still, re: the DB numbers and mismanaged roster…

    Are we taking into account the numbers and talents of those offered at DB, but chose to go elsewhere? Signing recruits is a two-way deal. The choices of the kids will also have impact on the numbers per position and the look of the rosters.

    Granted, there will be some highly talented kids whom Harbaugh & Co. may not want due to personality / work ethic issues / academic risk, and some not-quite-as-talented, whom Harbaugh wants because of personality / work ethic and potential to out-play their God-given talent. But, Harbaugh can’t get every kid he wants at every position he wants. Not even Sabin, who seems to thinks it’s his birthright, can get ‘em all.

    Might consider, too, what were the rankings of 2014 & ’15 classes (now Jr’s and Sr’s) … something like 37th and 19th ??? (whereas the Urb brought in something like the 2nd and 6th ranked classes???) Those two classes don’t seem to reflect the full Harbaugh-effect we’ve seen in the last two classes.

    Someone might want to find both the numbers and the rankings of the kids offered at DB over the past 4 yrs and see what Harbaugh was after vs what he got.

    OK, I’m dipping back down below the radar and returning to Lurkerdom.

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