There are two reasons Christian Powell never could have imagined his current set of circumstances.
The Upland High School graduate was not only verbally committed to UCLA days before signing his national letter of intent last February, he was committed to being a fullback. When Powell suits up for Saturday’s UCLA game in Boulder, Colo., it will be as a tailback for Colorado.
The 6-foot, 235-pound true freshman switched his commitment to Colorado in the 11th hour, but he has to be pleased with the way it played out. Powell not only has been converted to a tailback, he is the Buffaloes’ primary ball carrier. Used almost exclusively as a blocking back when he wasn’t playing defensive end at Upland, Powell erupted in his second collegiate game for 147 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries in a two-point loss to Sacramento State.
After one carry in his collegiate debut, Powell enters this weekend as the team’s leading rusher with 278 yards on 62 carries. The coaching staff inserted him in some packages following the first game and he hasn’t looked back.
Ironically, Powell is on pace in his first collegiate season to long surpass the rushing total of 400 yards he compiled as a senior at Upland. He did average 10 yards per carry as an Upland senior, but toted the ball just 40 times.
In an even more ironic twist, the tailback for which Powell paved the way to 1,754 yards and 33 touchdowns last year is now behind him on the Colorado depth chart. Donta Abron, along with fellow high school teammate and Colorado freshman Marques Mosley, may have been part of the reason Powell was swayed to the Buffaloes. After blocking for Abron for four years, Powell had to have assumed it would be the same for the next four.