For every recruitnik of a certain age, the name Jerrell Powe will always conjure up a certain type of feeling. A 5-star recruit from Waynesboro, Miss., Powe was the big fish reeled in by new Ole Miss head coach Ed Orgeron upon his 2005 hiring, a harbinger of good things to come from the recruiting dynamo the Rebels hired away from USC.
As we know now more than a decade later, it didn’t quite work out that way.
Powe was denied eligibility by the NCAA in 2005, enrolled at Hargrave Military Academy, but was denied eligibility again in 2006. He enrolled at Ole Miss and participated in training camp ahead of the 2007 season, but was again ruled out by the NCAA.
Powe, who suffers from a learning disability, hired a lawyer who accused the NCAA of violating the American With Disabilities Act and threatened a lawsuit.
He finally joined the team for the 2008 campaign, who were then coached by Houston Nutt, meaning the academic and legal wrangling over Orgeron’s prized recruit outlasted Oregon’s entire tenure. Powe recorded eight tackles in 12 games in 2008, then earned Second Team All-SEC honors in 2009 and ’10. He was chosen 199th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2011 NFL draft and played in a combined 28 games over four seasons with the Chiefs and Houston Texans.
Now 31 years old, Powe graduated from Ole Miss Saturday and took some parting shots at the NCAA on his way out.
Well NCAA – I heard from you every single day for 3 years as you tried to stop me from being the 1st in my family to go to college,” Powe wrote. “I graduated today and didn’t hear word 1 from you or anyone in your organization. That says it all doesn’t it?”
Powe earned his Bachelor’s degree in general studies.
“I’m ecstatic. Every day I wake up, it’s crazy, ‘cause this is really about to happen. I’m really about to graduate. There were a lot of people who said I wouldn’t or I couldn’t. I’m just excited to be able to get it done and be able to move on to the next chapter in my life and find out what it is I want to do for the next 15 or 20 years of my life,” he told Ole Miss Spirit last month. “It’s bigger than football. It’s on a whole ‘nother playing field of its own. I’ll be the first one to graduate college in my family. Especially with all the hoops I had to jump through, it means a lot. It means a lot to me, it means a lot to my mom and my family and it means a lot to me for my child that I can be able to instill education in him and to be able to put football second and also be able to show him that I was able to get a degree as well.”