Draft Diary: Ohio State’s Powell smiling his way to NFL

Ralf D. Russo AP college football writer

Ohio State safety Tyvis Powell often starts laughing before he even starts talking. For the 22-year-old from Cleveland, every interaction is an opportunity to have a good time – even interviews with NFL teams at the combine.

Powell is one of nine Buckeyes who passed up another season of college eligibility and who are expected to be drafted April 28-30. He might not be the most talented Ohio State player, but none is more engaging.

Powell gives The Associated Press a look at his draft process experience, including the one interview with an NFL team that made him nervous, and how he and one of his former Buckeyes teammates might have to be a package deal.

Q: Do you have any private meetings or workouts planned with NFL teams?

A: “I got the Titans coming in on the 30th (of March). And then I visit with Detroit later on in April, I’ll say the 11th.”

Q: What did you do after you played your last game with the Buckeyes (Ohio State beat Notre Dame 44-28 on Jan. 1 in the Fiesta Bowl)?

A: “I went straight to where I was training for the combine. EXOS in Pensacola (Florida). We played on Friday. I flew out Saturday. Started my workout Monday.”

Q: How were the workouts compared to working out at Ohio State with strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti?

A: “It was more relaxed than it would be at Ohio State. When you’re training for the combine, you got to motivate yourself to want to do it. That’s the main difference.”

Q: What were your combine goals?

A: “Every event that they had at the combine for the safeties, I wanted to at least be in the top five. I think I did a pretty decent job of doing so. I went out there and ran the 40, I was amazed myself. The official time was 4.46. I ran it and said, ‘Wow, did I?’ You know they don’t tell you your time. You got to go to check your cellphone. I went and checked my text messages. When they told me what it was I was like, ‘Really?’ I didn’t even feel like I was moving that fast.”

Q: Were you faster than Ohio State teammate and fellow safety Vonn Bell?

A: “Vonn didn’t run at the combine. (He ran at pro day). I beat him. He said he had a hamstring injury. I’ll let that be his excuse.”

Q: You are a pretty fun and funny guy. Did you think about toning it down for the combine interviews?

A: “So before I went to the meetings my agent said, ‘Tyvis, you need to go in there and, you know you can be yourself, but you need to be more serious now because this is serious.’ I said, ‘All right, Jared (Fox from Sportstars, Inc.), I’ll think about it.’

“I thought about it. Right before the meeting I said, ‘You know what? I’m just going to stay true to who I am. They already did their research. They know how I am. I’m not going to sit here and put a front on. If they don’t like me, they just won’t like me. I don’t want to be fake. I want them to see the real me. So I went in there and I was myself. I was the same jokey guy. We talked ball. I love talking ball. They seen I was very passionate about the game and I was answering their questions. I’ll tell you what, every meeting that we had we had a great laugh in the meeting.”

Q: Anybody you were particularly happy to get a laugh out of?

A: “When I went to go meet the Denver Broncos and I seen John Elway in there … First of all I was a little star struck. I was like, that’s John Elway. I was a little mad at him because, you know, I’m from Cleveland. You messed up our chances to win the championship with The Drive, but he’s still legend, though. When I got him to laugh I was like, yeah, OK. I relaxed a little bit.”

Note: Powell is roommates and close friends with Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones, who is also preparing for the draft. Powell calls Jones his son.

A: How is Cardale doing?

Q: “We’re still living together. And he still gets on my nerves every day. In fact, he just tried to call me two minutes ago. He probably needs his father. That’s why he called. Although he’s not going to admit it, he’s going to cry when we don’t get drafted by the same team.”

Q: Did you ask any teams to consider drafting both of you?

A: “I didn’t make that suggestion but I’m pretty sure now that they know about that. You got to take both of us. There ain’t no just getting one. We’re a package deal.”