Bilal Powell: A Star, Years In The Making

Bilal Powell: A Star, Years In The Making

The Jets have shaped their established superstar.

The New York Jets have been resting on a gold mine in 7th year Running Back Bilal Powell, a player who has never truly been in the spotlight, and one who has been consistently overshadowed by the prominence of teammates. The Jets have found a niche with Powell by playing him in a complimentary play style, as they have used him sparingly alongside featured Running Backs like Chris Ivory and Matt Forte. However, in 2017, Powell is finally seeing an increased workload out of the Jets’ backfield, and in 2018, he could be the deadliest weapon in New York’s offense.

When Powell first arrived in New York in 2011, the Jets were fresh off their second consecutive trip to the AFC Championship Game. The team was so close to a Super Bowl appearance, yet New York couldn’t quite figure out what the missing link was. Little did the Jets know that the missing puzzle piece has been under their nose for the past 7 years. However, instead of utilizing their newly drafted young talent, the Jets elected to return the starting RB job back to Shonn Greene, whose late-season prowess the year before had helped fuel the Jets postseason run.

However, once Greene left the Jets in 2012, New York kept Powell out of the limelight by signing the former New Orleans Saints backup RB, Chris Ivory. Ivory came to the Jets in 2013 with no knowledge of the offense and only 295 yards on average over the last 2 seasons, while Powell had run for 437 yards and 4 touchdowns the previous season as the backup. It was clear that the Jets had no plans to feature Powell in their gameplay each Sunday, however, the young Running Back saw it fit to go against the team’s narrative.

Over the course of the 2013 season, Powell posted career highs in touches, yards, and receptions, however, the Jets failed to qualify for the Playoffs. Despite New York’s shortcomings when it came to winning games, it was becoming crystal clear that Powell’s young age and unmatched potential would play key roles in the Jets’ future.

However, at the end of the 2015 season, the Jets failed to qualify for the playoffs for the 4th straight year, after suffering a heartbreaking loss to the Buffalo Bills that would have sent New York to the postseason, had they won the game. During the offseason, the Jets saw it fit to release Chris Ivory, setting the stage for Bilal Powell to finally earn his share of the spotlight as the featured RB in New York.

However, instead of making the logical decision to utilize Powell’s speed, vision, and young talent, the Jets decided to sign an aging and declining Matt Forte. Over the course of Forte’s two seasons with the Jets, he has posted career lows in yards, receptions, rushing attempts, yards/attempt, and touchdowns. And while Forte has accumulated the worst two-season stretch of his nine-year career, he has still remained the starter on a dysfunctional and lost Jets roster, forcing Bilal Powell to fall to the wayside for yet another year.

However, third-year coach Todd Bowles is finally realizing the hidden potential of Bilal Powell and how he can be a valuable piece in the Jets’ offense over the next few years. On Christmas Eve, when the Jets played the Los Angeles Chargers, Matt Forte fumbled the ball early in the game, resulting in Coach Bowles to turn his confidence over to Powell, who would go on to have one of his best games of the season, as he posted 145 yards from scrimmage on 19 attempts, including a 57-yard touchdown early in the second half.

Matt Forte only carried the ball 8 times for an uninspiring 19 yards. Ever since the Jets played the Atlanta Falcons during Week 8 of the season, Powell’s usage has been trending upward, and in a shocking twist, the Jets find ways to succeed when Powell is on the field. when Powell is the featured back. Over the past two years, there have been six games where Powell has played and Forte did not play. In these five games, the Jets are 4-1.

With the pieces in place for a rebuild in New York, the Jets could be contenders as early as next season. If all goes according to plan for the Jets, their offense could be a devastating threat for opposing defenses, as the receiving core of Jermaine Kearse and Robby Anderson have been stellar in 2017.

And now, since the Jets have little to no inclination of keeping Matt Forte on board for 2018, a revolution of young talent is shaping up in New York, and Bilal Powell is finally at the helm.

Cover Image Credit: WikiCommons

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.

Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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ASU Baseball Is Already Knocking It Out Of The Park

All eyes are on the Sun Devils as they enter the national poll this previous week. The Sun Devils are the last unbeaten team left in the NCAA.


Starting off the season 18-0? Not bad, considering the Sun Devils' haven't gone undefeated at the start of the NCAA baseball season since 2010 when they went 24-0, but honestly where did this come from? In the 2017-18 season, the Devils finished off with 23-32, sitting towards the bottom of the Pac-12. Now they're the top of the conference, past the usual Pac-12 baseball powerhouse, Oregon State.

On a team with only 27 on the roster, which makes it the smallest team in the Pac-12, you wouldn't really expect such an explosive start to the season. Take a look at the improvements made, though, and you'll see why.

For starters, catcher Sam Ferri is back healthy and ready for this season to start with both pitchers Alec Marsh and RJ Dabovich, who've both thrown some great games, but if we're being honest here, have been a little inconsistent with a few errors, but have been backed up by the offense to get the job done.

On offense, Hunter Bishop and Spencer Torkelson are the ones to watch out for. Torkelson was named Pac-12 freshman of the year last year, after setting the Pac-12 freshman record of home runs. Now he's back with some deadly at-bat presence, as you can always expect a few RBIs from him, and also doing a great job at infield (#TorkBomb). Bishop's following suit, with major at-bats against Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Xavier.

Safe to say being ranked #23 right now is huge for a program that struggled majorly in the past seasons and has had some great players transfer out recently. Despite being faced with huge adversity before the season, this lineup is really producing some good stuff this year, and by being undefeated through the first month of play really exemplified that.

Hats off to Head Coach Tracy Smith for helping these young men after having the program suffer for a while.


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