OTTAWA, Ontario — It’s always been an uphill battle for former Kansas State alum William Powell.
A 5’8, 210-pound running back, Powell made his way to Navarro Junior College from Duncanville, Texas, never started. After two years, he made his way to Kansas State where he never started and was in the rotation with future 2nd round pick Daniel Thomas.
“We didn’t have much expectations for him at all,” former Kansas State running backs coach and current UTEP head coach Dana Dimel said.
“Once we started getting him touches, he had that innate ability to see a hole and find a hole and hit the hole and do things that you can’t coach.”
After going undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft, Powell joined the Arizona Cardinals and stayed with them for three seasons. After spending a year on a few practice squads, Powell signed with the newly established Ottawa Redblacks in 2015 and became a two-time all-star, 2019 rushing co-leader and a Grey Cup champion.
“I always had a dream of playing professional football and have a 10-year career,” Powell said. “Running back is a short shelf life.”
Powell left Ottawa for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2019 and is back with the Redblacks this season.
The 34-year-old back has 29 touchdowns and almost 5,000 yards in his eight-year Canadian career. And he hopes he can run for a few more years.
“I try to build my game on to where I can have longevity. I try not to get hit as much as possible. I’m not like a bruising back or anything like that.”
With his former teammate Collin Klein as K-State’s current offensive coordinator, Powell says he hopes to make his way back to Manhattan soon.
“I stay in contact with some guys from there. Coaches.. they send me some stuff so that I can show my purple colors around the locker room and stuff like that.”