A virtual visit and constant contact with University of Arkansas linebackers coach Michael Scherer have the Hogs in line to host linebacker target Mani Powell for an official visit.
"They're the only school I have an official visit set up for," Powell said. "They've been on top of the recruiting with me."
Powell, 6-2, 220 pounds, of Canton (Ohio) McKinley has 16 scholarship offers from schools such as Arkansas, Boston College, Syracuse, Marshall, Buffalo, Central Michigan and others. The virtual visit motivated him to plan an official visit to Fayetteville on June 11.
"I loved the weight room and their indoor field," Powell said. "It was a pretty cool virtual visit. It just made me want to go see it in person."
Arkansas' 110-yard long weight room stood out.
"As a football player, you almost live in the weight room until you're playing, and I just love that weight room facility," Powell said.
Powell -- who qualified for the state wrestling meet as a sophomore and junior -- said he and Scherer, a former linebacker at Missouri, grew up wrestling.
"He let me know about a lot of background of himself and his football playing," Powell said. "A lot of things we have in common like he's a wrestler, too. He came from a wrestling family, so that was pretty cool. We just talk about mutual stuff that we have in common."
They also both have a weakness for sweets.
"We both love candy," Powell said. "We both have a sweet tooth. He told me how they stay stacked with candy. I'll eat any type of candy. I like Swedish Fish, Life Savers and stuff like that."
Powell was named to the first team of the Division I All-Ohio football team as selected by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association. He also was named the district defensive player of the year after recording 81 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 7 quarterback hurries and 2 forced fumbles in 8 games.
He also rushed for 138 yards and three touchdowns.
National recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network rates Powell a 3-star-plus recruit.
"He's outstanding," Lemming said. "He has great size, length, quickness to the ball. He's still growing and could become a defensive end. He has 4-star potential."
His mother is also on board in wanting to make an official visit to Arkansas.
"My mom wanted to make sure we got to see the campuses and get to meet the people in person before I make any type of a decision," Powell said.
He said his mother appreciates the effort Scherer has put in to recruiting her son.
"She's seen me talk to coach a lot," Powell said. "She knows he's making the effort to build a relationship with me."
Powell, who has around a 3.3 grade-point average, is looking to study business management and entrepreneurship in college. He's intrigued with the reputation of the Sam M. Walton College of Business being one of the best in the nation.
"That means a lot actually, because it's what I want to do," Powell said. "What I want to learn."
He's a big fan of the ABC show "Shark Tank", which allows people to pitch business ideas to successful businesspeople such as Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, and fashion and branding expert Daymond John and others.
"It gives you the knowledge you need to know how deep you have to get with business ideas," Powell said. "It really lets you know you have to have a whole plan for any type of business to work out because on 'Shark Tank', you can't go on there with a bad presentation and expect to get money."
Email Richard Davenport at [email protected]
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