Clemson University

Tigers receiver Cornell Powell ready to play big role

Cornell Powell could be a breakout player for the Clemson football team’s 2017 offense.

The wide receiver caught 12 passes for 87 yards as a freshman, but with a season of experience under his belt Powell could emerge as a regular playmaker for the Tigers this fall.

“He’s a great young talent,” said Clemson coach Dabo Swinney. “He will be a guy that will be a big factor for us this season.”

Powell isn’t expected to start, but is expected to rotate with starter Ray-Ray McCloud at the position Clemson calls “2,” where Artavis Scott started and McCloud rotated last year.

Listed at 6-feet tall and 200 pounds, two inches and 20 pounds bigger than McCloud, Powell brings a different skill-set to the position.

“I think I bring strength and physicality, he brings speed and quickness and together – we can do some damage,” Powell said.

Clemson co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Jeff Scott said Powell is “going to be a guy that’s difficult to tackle, where Ray-Ray is a guy that can make some guys miss.

“I think Cornell’s a strong guy that’s going to bust through some tackles because of his build and strength. He’s long. He’s got really long arms. He’s got a really big catch radius because of his length.”

A four-star recruit out of Greenville, N.C., Powell was used as a receiver and running back in high school and was also a kickoff and punt returner.

Powell has the potential to contribute in all of those areas for the Tigers. He played 178 snaps in nine games last season, but that gave Powell a feel for the increased speed and tempo of the college game.

“Everybody’s talented, so you got to have the proper technique to outwork the other guy because even if you beat them with speed, they can recover fast on this level,” Powell said.

Scott has been pleased with Powell’s progress and consistency this spring. Powell led the Tigers with five catches for 78 yards in their most recent scrimmage.