On Tuesday Clemson wide receiver Cornell Powell took the time to meet with the media for the first time in his career. The freshman is ready to fill in at any spot needed, especially with the recent injury to playmaker Hunter Renfrow.
Renfrow is expected to miss the next four weeks after breaking a small bone in his right hand in last week’s win over Troy. Powell and the rest of the third-ranked Tigers will host S.C. State this Saturday in Death Valley.
Question: Coaches always talk about freshman hitting that slow point a couple weeks in, what was that like for you and what causes that?
Powell: “The thing that I learned firsthand is being able to judge the install and time management all together. You have to remember what you learned the day before, and keep that in mind while you’re in the process of learning something the next day. It goes fast so you just have to slow down and process it all and after a while you get it.”
Q: With Hunter Renfrow getting hurt Coach (Dabo) Swinney told us this morning that you’re one of those guys that he’s expecting to step up in his absence. How good does that feel to you to have that opportunity this early in your career?
Powell: “Well first, me and Hunter made a bind and when I first heard the news I was obviously sad because he’s obviously a great player and he just makes plays so I know that it was going to impact the team, but after that I realized this could be my moment to show what I can do.”
Q: You and Diondre Overton have been friends since high school during the recruiting process and all that. How has that helped you to have him here with you?
Powell: “Coming in it was definitely good to have a lifetime friend like Dre. He’s made the process so much easier because I have someone to talk to and relate to and not just come here and be a stranger to everyone. It made it easier but we both have the same mindset that when our number is called it’s time for us to step up and be ready for it. So that’s how we bonded and we’re ready for it.”
Q: What do you think you can bring to this Clemson offense now that you’re taking on a bigger role?
Powell: “I can bring speed, physicality, deep ball threat and red zone threat. Whatever they need me to do. I can play kick return, punt return, whatever it may be I’m ready to embrace my role.”
Q: How hard was it, from a mental stand point, learning the playbook and everything that goes with that, the learning curve? Was it a gradual process or at one point did it all just click for you?
Powell: “It wasn’t too tough. I’ve been playing football since I was five so I know how to grasp the concept of a play. I’ve got it all right by the beginning of fall camp and once I learned it consistently, it allowed me to play at 100% in every route and every play.”
Q: Do you foresee yourself having a bigger impact in the return game or at wide receiver?
Powell: “Probably at wide receiver because we have Ray Ray. He’s a great athlete and what he can do back there is special. I mean I can also do the same things but he has more experience right now, and he’s better for the team right now, but I will go in at wide receiver and impress everyone. If I need to go in at punt return or kick return I can do that too.”
Q: What was your favorite moment from Sunday?
Powell: “Getting off the bus at the top of the hill and 80,000 plus from the first time from that perspective. It was just an amazing feeling running down the hill.”