Chaz Powell's ability to make a seamless transition from wide receiver to cornerback during the 2010 season speaks to his overall outstanding athletic ability and football acumen. A safety during his redshirt season in 2007, Powell was a wideout the next two years, but the coaching staff shifted him to corner in spring practice in 2010. He returned to wideout at the start of last season, but moved back to the secondary prior to the Minnesota game. After starting five games a year ago at cornerback, Powell will look to make a larger impact on the defensive side of the ball this fall. The same skills that made him a standout receiver have assisted him in his transition to cornerback -- good hands, quickness and a nose for the ball. He likely will resume his battle with Stephon Morris for a starting assignment when preseason camp commences. Powell is a gifted, hard-working and confident player. With his speed and vision, he has proven to be a game-changer on special teams, returning the second half kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown last year against Youngstown State. Powell is on schedule to graduate in December.
2010 Senior Season
Powell was shifted from wide receiver to cornerback in the midst of the season and was a major contributor on defense and special teams. He started five games at corner last year, giving him 14 career starts (nine at wide receiver). Powell made 11 tackles (eight solo) and tied Drew Astorino for the team lead with five pass breakups. Powell led the team and ranked No. 8 in the Big Ten with a 24.0-yard average on 21 kickoff returns. He returned the second half kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown in the season-opener with Youngstown State. Powell delivered Penn State's first 100-yard kickoff return since Rich Mauti at Temple in 1975. The return for a touchdown was the Nittany Lions' first since Derrick Williams took a kick back 94 yards for a score against Illinois in 2008. Powell made two catches for nine yards at No. 1 Alabama and had two kickoff returns for 47 yards at Iowa. Powell gained 82 yards on three kickoff returns against Illinois, with a long return of 31 yards. He returned to cornerback prior to the Minnesota game, returning one kickoff 24 yards, with a solo tackle against the Golden Gophers. Powell made his first career start at cornerback in the primetime win over Michigan and had one solo tackle and one pass breakup. He also returned two kickoffs 51 yards against the Wolverines, beginning a string of five consecutive starts. Powell had two solo stops and a pass breakup in the historic comeback win over Northwestern. He recorded two solo tackles at Ohio State and returned five kickoffs for a total of 85 yards. Powell was on the field for 444 snaps, topped by 76 and 71 in the wins over Michigan and Indiana, respectively.
2009 Junior Season
Playing in 12 games, with nine starts at wide receiver, Powell was fourth on the squad with 28 receptions for 366 yards (13.1) and three touchdowns. He was ninth in the Big Ten in kickoff returns with a 23.2-yard average, with a long of 54 yards. He was on the field for 395 snaps, led by 53 against the Hawkeyes. Powell made a team and career-high seven receptions for 65 yards in the season-opening win over Akron, including an eight-yard touchdown reception from Daryll Clark. He made his first career start against Syracuse and led the team with four catches for 40 yards against Temple. In the primetime meeting with Iowa, Powell made three receptions for a career-high 96 yards. As Powell crossed midfield on Penn State's first play from scrimmage against the Hawkeyes, he looked up into the Beaver Stadium lights, saw the pigskin hurtling toward him through the rain, gained separation and caught the ball in stride near the 35-yard line, racing into the end zone. The 79-yard scoring strike was the longest catch of Powell's career, Clark's longest career completion and Penn State's longest play from scrimmage in 2009. The play also was tied for the eighth-longest completion in school history. Powell led the Lions with four catches for 79 yards in the Eastern Illinois game, including a leaping 51-yard catch. He added a 19-yard reverse. Powell kept a drive alive at Michigan when he picked up 11 big yards on a reverse play on third down. He delivered a big play at Michigan when he returned the opening kickoff of the second half 54 yards, the Lions' longest kickoff return of 2009. The return set up a touchdown in the 35-10 win. Powell made five receptions for 39 yards in the 34-13 win at Northwestern. He had a six-yard run on the second play of the Indiana game, but left with a shoulder injury. He did not play in the win at Michigan State due to the shoulder injury. Powell returned to the starting lineup in the Capital One Bowl victory over LSU, where he hauled in one reception for 11 yards.
2008 Sophomore Season
On his second collegiate carry in the season-opener with Coastal Carolina, Powell took the ball around the right end and broke free down the sideline, scoring on a 55-yard run in the third quarter. He gained 60 yards on two carries to launch a successful redshirt freshman campaign. Powell accumulated 370 all-purpose yards, the second-highest total among non-starters. He averaged 28.8 yards on nine kickoff returns, led by a 69-yard burst at Syracuse to set up a Collin Wagner field goal in the third quarter. Powell gained 74 rushing yards on eight carries, for a team-best 9.2-yard average, and two touchdowns. He also caught two passes against the Orange for 37 yards, with a long of 22 yards, giving him a season-best 105 all-purpose yards. Powell tallied his second career touchdown on a seven-yard run in the win over Temple. He had a strong special teams effort in the win against Michigan, returning two kickoffs for 75 yards. His 43-yard return after the Wolverines had taken a 10-0 lead provided a big momentum boost for the Nittany Lions. Two plays later, Evan Royster burst up the middle on a 44-yard score to begin a 46-7 run to end the game. Powell also returned a kickoff 25 yards in the 49-18 victory over Michigan State. In the 2009 Rose Bowl against Southern California, Powell gained 58 yards on three kickoff returns. He was on the field for 141 plays, led by 26 snaps against the Wolverines.
2007 Freshman Season
Redshirt season. Powell made three tackles in the 2008 Blue-White game.
Powell was a multi-talented defensive back and running back for Coach Tom Waranavage at Susquehannock HS. He was rated the No. 2 overall prep player in Pennsylvania by Rivals.com. As a senior, he gained a team-high 1,190 yards rushing and scored 16 touchdowns, adding 400 receiving yards. The 2006 York/Adams Interscholastic Athletic Association Player-of-the-Year, he grabbed three interceptions, returning one of them for a touchdown. He was slowed by an ankle injury early in his senior season. Powell's ability to have a significant impact also was demonstrated by his 16 blocked field goals and punts. He also was a standout on the basketball, lacrosse and track and field teams in high school.
Full name is Chaz Eugene Miller Powell. He has two younger sisters, Chavon and Chelsea. He enjoys spending time with friends, working out, movies and video games. Powell is majoring in crime, law and justice and is on schedule to graduate in December. Born January 1, 1988 in Baltimore, Md.