Al Washington knew more than a year ago the high talent level of Marysville (Ohio) High School’s Gabe Powers.
That's why the Ohio State linebackers coach offered Powers in November of Powers' sophomore year, as he became the first outside linebacker and third overall linebacker the Buckeyes offered in the class. Washington long emphasized how badly he wanted the young defensive standout in Ohio State's class.
Tonight, Washington got his wish. Powers, a four-star prospect ranked as the No. 45 overall player, the No. 2 outside linebacker and No. 1 Ohioan in the class of 2022, has committed to Ohio State. After previously planning to wait as long as next summer to make a decision – after the recruiting dead period was lifted and he could take visits – Powers chose to end his recruitment knowing where he's been wanting to end up all along.
The Powers File
- Class: 2022
- Size: 6-foot-4/220 lbs
- Pos: OLB
- School: Marysville High School (Marysville, Ohio)
- 247Sports Rating: ★★★★
- 247Sports Rank: 2 OLB
“Just thinking over things with quarantine and maybe us not even having a season, I was looking at things and just decided to end it,” Powers told Eleven Warriors. “Obviously, it’s home, and there’s nothing better. So just thinking about it, it’s best just to stay home and commit to where I’ve always wanted.
“It feels real good (to have the weight off my shoulders). It feels amazing. It’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of. The offer was amazing, but it’s a different feeling when you’re actually committing and you’re part of it. Because once I commit, there’s no decommitting unless there’s a coaching change or something else.”
After mulling over the decision of whether or not to end his recruitment throughout the week, Powers sat down with his parents, Mike and Erin, on Thursday night to talk it out. After that conversation, it was time to give Ohio State his word.
“My dad said just make sure you’re 100 percent positive about your decision and that he’s gonna back me up 100 percent with whatever I do,” Powers said. ”He just said, ‘make sure it’s what you really want.’ My mom wants me to go to Ohio State. She wants me to stay close to home.
“I was talking to Coach Washington, and he said the reason I was the first linebacker he gave an offer to is because he really wanted me there.”
Washington: “You made my whole doggone week. ... We’re gonna get it done, man. I’m proud of you. This is just the start.” pic.twitter.com/yHTFwz6yl0— Zack Carpenter (@Zack_Carp) August 1, 2020
That early relationship-building paid off in a big way for both Washington and the Powers family.
“He’s a great guy,” Gabe said. “I’ve seen him coach through Zooms and things like that, and he’s a great coach. Great guy with a great family. With his family and where he grew up, me and my family are kind of the same way. Him and my dad are kind of the same way, so he understands how it is, and he understands how hard to push. How he raises his family with his wife, he has a great family. I couldn’t say enough good things about him.”
“The offer was amazing, but it’s a different feeling when you’re actually committing and you’re part of it. Because once I commit, there’s no decommitting unless there’s a coaching change or something else.”– Ohio State commit Gabe Powers
It's not just the personality of Washington that helped him land Powers. He's also proven his chops on the field.
“You see how he did with the linebackers there in just one year,” Powers said. “They’re so much better in just the one year he got there. I watch some of the drills he does. Just looking at the drills and what he does and how much of a technician he is, it’s down to the little things. That’s what’s gonna make you great. When you get to the next level, it’s not just about your skill because everybody has that now, but it’s also about your form and all that stuff.”
Powers was only the second player in Ohio the Buckeyes offered and one of the first 20 players they offered in the 2022 class altogether. That was one of the dominoes that preceded Powers eventually becoming one of the most sought-after linebackers in his class, with early offers from Penn State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Florida State, Wisconsin and strong interest from Clemson, which told Powers it was planning on offering him at the end of his sophomore year.
|NAME||POSITION||OVERALL RANKING||POSITION RANKING||DATE OF COMMITMENT|
|JYAIRE BROWN||CB||112||14||APRIL 22, 2020|
|TEGRA TSHABOLA||OT||143||15||APRIL 23, 2020|
|C.J. HICKS||OLB||117||8||MAY 1, 2020|
|GABE POWERS||OLB||45||2||AUG. 1, 2020|
Powers was one of just two Ohio high schoolers (offensive tackle Tegra Tshabola, who was offered just one day before Powers, is the other) to be ranked in the top 100 of 247Sports' initial class of 2022 rankings, and Powers is now ranked No. 45 overall and No. 2 at OLB. (Tshabola was No. 69 and No. 6 at offensive tackle before a drop.)
Another one of the main reasons Powers wants to bring all that talent to Ohio State and end his recruiting process this early?
“The brotherhood. That’s what stood out a lot at the game is the brotherhood on the field and in the locker room,” Powers told Eleven Warriors after his visit to the Shoe for the Buckeyes' game against Penn State in late November.
“I just wanna go somewhere I’m comfortable and fit in really well. One of the biggest (factors) is the brotherhood. How well does the team bond together? How well does the team bond with the coaches? How much do they feel like they’re important or fit in there?”