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MSU-N Game Day: Making himself right at home

All the way from Florida, safety Japerri Powell hasn't just adjusted to life at MSU-Northern, he's thriving in it, on and off the football field


November 1, 2019

Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern freshman safety Japerri Powell is not only have an immediate impact for the MSU-Northern defense, he's already a leader of it. Powell is second on the team in tackles heading into Saturday night's game against Carroll College at Blue Pony Stadium.

Life is full of incredible journies, as well as ups and downs. Many spend their lives walking along a diverse path that can lead to their dreams or even steer them away. Those who steer off the path will hopefully find their way back on the right one. But, those who stay on the right path find what they have been dreaming of accomplishing.

No journey is easy and will always be full of surprises. Despite that, the end result is often is the most satisfying feeling one can achieve.

Montana State University-Northern freshman safety Japerri Powell is a talent that has graced the field this season and has made an impact on the Lights' defense. Powell's journey to Northern was quite the long one, as the young Powell traveled all the way from Orlando, Florida to come play with the Lights.

Powell's football journey started at a young age and his passion for the game has never dwindled in his lengthy career. Starting at such a young age has engrained important information and skill sets that have propelled Powell to make an impact wherever he went in his future.

Powell grew up to play at Dr, Phillips High School and quickly became a standout talent for the team. Powell's skill is on a higher level than most college freshman that come out of high school. Many colleges had offers for Powell, but Northern was the school that grabbed his attention and the 5-9, 175-pound recruit made the trip to Montana to put on a show for the Northern recruiting team. After a great showcase, MSU-N head coach Andrew Rolin was and is thrilled to have Powell on their defense.

"JP came on to the recruiting scene late for us," said Rolin. "He had a few big offers and it just happened to work out right for us. It was exciting to get him in here and he made an impact the moment he showed up here. He's a talented kid and everyone on the field sees that. He's got that energy and loves the game of football."

After much of the season has passed for MSU-Northern football, Powell has proven his skills out on the field. Powell has racked up a total of 59 tackles, seven tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble-recovery and two pass-breakups so far in his career at Northern. That is a pretty big start for the young talent, who initially came to MSU-N to play running back.

Powell has been used in the Lights' kick return schemes, too. So far this season, Powell has put up six attempts for 114 yards, with his longest return being 24 yards against Arizona Christian University in Northern's season-opener. But, much of Powell's highlights are at his position of safety.

Powell's skills have helped a very young Lights' defense out this season.

But, how Powell came to Northern is a great story of taking a chance and succeeding.

"I was receiving a lot of phone calls from Coach Crane, Chestnut and Rolin to come here and I was thinking about it a lot," said Powell. "I was like, I better just go. This is my last opportunity, why not? Why don't I give it a shot? So, I came, far away from home. It's just a good feeling now. I'm happy to be here and to be a part of the program."'

Powell is not only a part of the program, but a big part of the Lights defensive scheme, as well.

Safety is a very important position on the defense, as it is essential for disrupting the opponent's passing-game. It is often that one will find the safety downfield attempting to break up a deep pass and make a big play. But, some defensive schemes have used safeties in pass-rush situations. In that case, it is common to see the safety blitzing around the outside to blindside the quarterback and get a sack.

It is safe to say, Powell has made plays in both situations and has made some noise on the Lights defense. On top of that, Powell knows what has helped him become talented at his safety position.

"I just like football in general," said Powell. "I've been playing this game for so long, so I decided to play college football. I just like to hit, play around and fly around with my boys. It's fun."

A love for the game and a motivation to make a big play for the team is always impactful in one's career. Powell's mindset is admirable and helps drive the Lights to do great things every game they play. It is important to be passionate about what one does because if one is not, then what is the point of putting in the effort?

Powell's passion has no need to be questioned and is an excellent quality in the freshman talent. Powell is always seen on the field motivated and ready to make a play when the team needs it. Powell never gave up on his love for football and that alone has gave him a great opportunity to continue to be one of Northern's most impactful defensive talents.

Powell, like many defenders across the sport, have a favorite things when it comes to the game and playing in their position.

Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern freshman safety Japerri Powell is not only have an immediate impact for the MSU-Northern defense, he's already a leader of it. Powell is second on the team in tackles heading into Saturday night's game against Carroll College at Blue Pony Stadium.

"Hitting," said Powell. "That's what I like and I love it. They tell me to slow down and calm down at practice, but I love it. I've learned to be aggressive."

Powell is always excited to be out on the field and having a great time alongside his teammates. Despite his immense passion for the physical aspects of the game, both the coaches and players respect Powell for the work he puts forward in each game. With a long time till the end of his college football career, Powell still has a lot more skills he can develop and expand on throughout his years with Northern.

And Saturday night against Carroll College, Powell will be ready to give it everything he has got to help MSU-N find another win in its season. The journey that Powell has made from his hometown in Orlando to his new home in Havre is a blessed one and has certainly made an impact on Powell and the way he plays. The Lights are happy to see him out on the field wreaking havoc.

MSU-Northern kicks off against the Carroll College Fighting Saints Saturday night at 7 p.m. in Blue Pony Stadium.


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