September 24, 2008

Birthday call makes impact on Norwood

Kevin Norwood didn't have much of a birthday party on Tuesday.

A severe toothache killed any chance of celebrating the annual milestone.

However, two schools took a big step up in the race for the d'Iberville, Miss., wide receiver's college services on Norwood's birthday by simply remembering to place a call and extend congratulations and best wishes. Only one of those programs is a serious player for Norwood, and the call definitely meant something.

The caller was Ole Miss wide receivers coach Ron Dickerson Jr., who recruit's the Gulf Coast for the Rebels.

"It means a lot to me," said Norwood, who also got a birthday call from coaches at Alcorn State. "It let me know he did his research and stuff like that. He really wants me."

Just a couple of weeks ago, Norwood was close to ending his recruiting. His family was pushing him to commit to Southern Mississippi and stay close to home. However, things have changed. While the Golden Eagles are in the mix, Ole Miss and Alabama appear to have made strong moves.

"I was close, but I'm backing off that," said Norwood, who has led d'Ibervilel to a 4-0 record going into Friday's homecoming game against Poplarville. "I didn't know recruiting to be this hard. My decision was going to be a little easy. Once you get to talking to these coaches and get to know them, you get caught up in it. I like all the schools. I'm still giving each one of them an opportunity."

Norwood hasn't made any concrete plans to take an official visit to Ole Miss, but he indicated Wednesday that he's "pretty sure I will. I watched them play Wake Forest. Their offense is pretty good."

Norwood indicated that he planned to watch Alabama's big game at Georgia on Saturday.

"They have a pretty good team," Norwood said of the Crimson Tide. "I'm pretty sure they're going to hopefully come up with a victory. I haven't gotten a chance to watch them play."

However, Alabama's influx of young, talented wide receivers might work against Nick Saban's program. Norwood wants to play early, and with Ole Miss losing speed threat Mike Wallace, there's an immediate opening in Oxford. That's something Norwood said he's noticed.

"That's one of my main factors," Norwood said. "If you're going to give me a scholarship to go play, I'm going to work my hardest to play the position. I want to play as a freshman."

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