High school football: Centerville’s Powers picks place that feels like home

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Why did Centerville’s Reggie Powers III verbally commit to Michigan State?

According to his father, East Lansing just felt like his kind of place.

“Friday night and Saturday morning, he was like, ‘This feels like home,’ when he was just talking to me and his mom,” Reggie Powers II said. “So we said, ‘Hey, whatever you want to do, we support it.’”

The younger Powers had more than 30 scholarship offers, a group he whittled down to five in late May.

He went on official visits to Pittsburgh and Northwestern in June before traveling to MSU, and he had visits to Cincinnati and Ohio State scheduled for the next two weeks.

With the way his trip north went, though, Power decided those weren’t going to be necessary.

“So it blew him away as far as the location, how it’s set up, the ability to have an early impact and how he related with the players,” Powers’ father said. “That was really the most important. He enjoyed the coaches, too, but like how he felt like he fit in with the athletes. Because each visit is a little different because different locker rooms, different culture. So none of them were bad. He never had a bad experience, but it was like this one is like I felt like home.”

Ironically, Michigan State was the last team to offer Powers. Veteran secondary coach Harlon Barnett connected with him during the GWOC recruiting showcase in early May, and the rest is now history.

“They hit it off immediately,” Powers II said. “So in the month in between when he got the offer, and we got up to campus they talked I would say probably almost every day. So he really was comfortable with him and how coach Barnett said he would fit in the defense and their depth chart and things like that.”

Barnett and head coach Mel Tucker, who is also a former defensive backs coach, see the 6-1, 195-pound Powers playing their nickel safety position, but they also showed him how he could contribute immediately on special teams.

“That was the only visit where they covered special teams,” Powers II said. “So that coach broke down some of his highlights, some of the things he liked and how that would fit on special teams as well. So they really see him as somebody that’s going to be able to contribute not start right away, but like be in the mix to play early, which is which is important to him as well. So that and just the vibe in general was good.”

Powers was third on his team with 78 tackles last season, including seven for loss, and he broke up three passes.

Centerville coach Brent Ullery called him “a phenomenal player and an even better person.”

“His smile and great attitude are infectious, and he’s a pleasure to be around and coach,” Ullery added. “He has worked incredibly hard to get to where he is, and he’s very deserving of the opportunities that he has. We couldn’t be happier for Reggie and we look forward to watching him have another great season before moving on to the next level.”

Powers is the third prospect in the area to commit to a Power 5 school and the second to say he is heading to the Big Ten in 2024.

Stebbins offensive lineman Jake Wheelock committed to Cincinnati in April and Trotwood-Madison quarterback Tim Carpenter Jr. gave his pledge to Indiana in May.

Last year, the area produced five Big Ten recruits and had nearly 30 players sign with FBS schools.

So far, more than 20 players in the 2024 class have received FBS offers or at least reported getting serious interest from FBS schools.

Michigan State had made a major habit of recruiting Ohio during the Mark Dantonio era, but Tucker — who like Dantonio is an Ohio native who had a successful stint as an assistant coach at Ohio State — has used the transfer portal heavily to fill out his roster since arriving in East Lansing in 2020.

The most recent area players to sign with the Spartans were Piqua linebacker Darien Tipps-Clemons and Fairfield cornerback Josiah Scott in 2017 when Dantonio was still leading the program.

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