What a difference a few days can make.
Deerfield Beach running back Brandon Powell, who was supposed to enroll at the University of Miami on Wednesday but was waiting on a transcript from his school to finish the process, has decided Friday to commit to the University of Florida after receiving a scholarship offer to play for the Gators on Monday.
Powell’s father, Brian, confirmed the move in text message to the Miami Herald on Friday morning while the two were heading to Gainesville.
Powell — rated a four-star prospect by Rivals and ESPN who has been committed to UM in August after pledging to Tennessee — was slated to join Miami’s backfield alongside Duke Johnson and early enrollee Joseph Yearby from Miami Central, and help cushion missed opportunities in securing commitments from Central’s Dalvin Cook (Florida State) and Plantation American Heritage’s Sony Michel (Georgia).
Instead, he has become the third UM decommitment in the last week, following Hialeah Champagnat Catholic defensive lineman Travonte Valentine and Miami Booker T. Washington cornerback Nigel Bethel.
Powell will now be a featured part of Florida’s offense, which struggled mightily last season and hopes to have new life under recently hired offensive coordinator Kurt Roper from Duke.
Powell rushed for 1,339 yards on 141 carries for 20 touchdowns during his senior season, the third-most yards total in Broward County. He also had 21 catches for 289 yards and two touchdowns, as well as 452 yards and a touchdown on kick and punt returns.
Moving away from home to attend a school with a traditional college experience was something Powell wanted to participate in. He took official visits to Nebraska on Sept. 14, West Virginia on Oct. 19 and Tennessee on Dec. 6. There was also some doubt he wanted to attend Tennessee after his visit, but reaffirmed his commitment to UM after an official visit to Coral Gables on Dec. 13.
After UM’s loss to Louisville in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 28, Powell told the Miami Herald the next day he was excited to enroll at UM, play for coach Al Golden, and learn from Johnson and backup Dallas Crawford despite being disappointed with the Hurricanes’ play.
“I was pumped up, but they couldn’t move the ball on offense and I thought ‘what’s happening?’” Powell said. “I thought they were going to crank it up after halftime but they just couldn’t do anything.”
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With the recent reductions, UM’s 2014 football recruiting class now has 26 commits, including two signed defensive tackles from junior colleges (Calvin Heurtelou and Michael Wyche), and four early enrollees (Kc McDermott, Trent Harris, Braxton Berrios and Juwon Young). UM’s incoming class is now ranked 10th in the nation by 247Sports, falling four spots.
Central coach Roland Smith said his Under Armour All-America players Joseph Yearby and Trevor Darling should be enrolled at UM “any day now.”
Yearby, rated a four-star running back who committed to UM in February, has been recovering from a broken fibula and expects to be ready when the Canes begin spring practice.
Darling, rated a four-star offensive tackle, has been committed to UM since April.
“They’re still enrolling,” Smith said. “Everything is in and they’ll be fine.”
Despite securing late commitments from Powell, and cornerback Jalen Tabor early Thursday, UF lost out on Plantation athlete Chris Lammons Thursday night.
Lammons, a U.S. Army All-American rated four stars by several media outlets, announced his decommitment from the Gators via his Twitter account. He was slated to play cornerback for the Gators despite being a dual-threat quarterback in high school.
“No I Did Not Decommit Because Of Jalen Tabor Commitment I Decommited To Put Myself In A Better Position .” Lammons wrote.
Tabor, a five-star recruit from Washington, DC Friendship Academy, flipped his pledge after announcing his commitment to Arizona at the Under Armour All-America Game in St. Petersburg on Jan. 2.
Wisconsin and South Carolina will be major players for Lammons’ services as National Signing Day approaches on Feb. 5. Lammons originally wanted to commit to South Carolina before committing to Florida in July, but the Gamecocks told him they didn’t have enough room to add another defensive back.
This story was originally published January 11, 2014 12:00 AM.