UCA ShunDerrick Powell: ShunDerrick Powell, the junior running back for the University of Central Arkansas, is more than just a football player. Becoming a new father has added a new layer to his life. The birth of his son, ShunDerrick Jr., brought a smile so wide it seemed to stretch from ear to ear, rendering Powell momentarily speechless.
Powell’s journey from North Alabama to UCA was driven not only by football aspirations but also by a desire to be close to family, especially with a newborn in tow. UCA’s running back room, already stacked, became Powell’s new home. The coaching staff, particularly running backs coach Nelson Gunnell, played a pivotal role in convincing Powell to join the Bears.
Family is at the heart of Powell’s decisions. The proximity of UCA to his parents in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and the school’s openness to accommodate his son were critical factors. Powell appreciates Coach Nathan Brown‘s understanding of the challenges of parenthood.
Navigating the transition from the loud college athlete lifestyle to early morning wake-ups and diaper changes has been a significant adjustment for Powell. Sleep deprivation battles for attention with the demands of college football, making the past 12 months quite a ride for the young father.
His performance on the field speaks volumes, with Powell averaging 136.6 all-purpose yards per game through eight games. The Bears’ upcoming game against North Alabama presents an opportunity to keep their UAC title hopes alive, a far cry from Powell’s previous experiences with a struggling team.
Powell’s father, Derrick, has been a consistent source of guidance, coaching his son from Pop Warner to the collegiate level. The message from Derrick to ShunDerrick has always been clear: be better than him. This resonated deeply with Powell, especially now that he’s a father himself. The dream of making it to the NFL remains his top goal, fueled not only by personal ambition but also by a desire to provide a better life for his family.
As Powell continues to chase his dreams on and off the field, the lessons from his father and the newfound joys and challenges of fatherhood shape his journey at the University of Central Arkansas.