Powe, a defensive tackle from Waynesboro, announced on Saturday that he would forego his final season of eligibility at Ole Miss to enter the NFL draft.
Powe was certified by the NCAA as a partial qualifier in 2007, a designation that allowed him to regain a season of eligibility that was lost upon his arrival provided he remained in good academic standing, which he had.
Powe, diagnosed with a learning disability before reaching Ole Miss, told reporters in November that he is on course to graduate with a degree in criminal justice in May. He signed with Ole Miss following the 2004 high school football season but attended prep school for the 2005 season.
Powe signed with Ole Miss again in 2006, was denied by the NAA and filed a lawsuit against the NCAA and the school which was ultimately dropped. The NCAA questioned his successful completion of correspondence courses.
Powe finally got on the field in 2008.
"I have struggled for a long time about this decision, but in the end, it's time for me to move on," Powe said in a university news release. "I really appreciate everything Ole Miss has done for me. I plan on coming back and supporting my school and my team for the rest of my life. I am in my prime right now and I feel it is in my best interest to start using my ability to earn a living for me and my family."
Powe is 23 years old and will turn 24 in March, before the 2011 draft.
"I really appreciate what Jerrell Powe has done for this program, in particular the want he showed to be an Ole Miss Rebel," said Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt. "He displayed tremendous work ethic and dedication in the face of adversity. He is really close to graduation, and I hope he reaches that goal. We wish him the best in the NFL Draft."
Powe could possibly have improved his draft stock from another year of college football. He did not compare favorably with the elite defensive tackles in the SEC this season.
LSU's Drake Nevis finished the regular season with 56 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, six sacks and four pressures, while Auburn's Nick Fairley had 51 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks and 19 pressures.
In statistics very similar to his 2009 accomplishments, Powe had 27 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and one pressure.
South Louisiana-based NFL draft analyst Mike Detillier projects Powe as a mid-round pick, late third round at best.
"The best comparison I can give you is he'd played like a middle class version of Terrence Cody (former Alabama DL). Terrence was dominant against the run. He wasn't a great pass rusher, but neither is Jerrell," Detillier said. "If he's looking to hear a first- or second-round answer, he's not going to get that from the NFL advisory board."
Cody was a late second-round pick last year, No. 57 overall. Powe will have to answer questions of his weight, which speaks to game-long endurance, and his work ethic, Detillier said.
Contact Parrish Alford at 678-1600