By Kevin Eickman
There are some football players that just pop the first time you see them. Tyler Norwood is one of those players. As an underclassman, Norwood was steady, but far from spectacular. However, with dedication and commitment in the weight room, he began to transformer himself. When his junior season at Milford started it was evident, Norwood was a player that had grown a passion for the game along with a leadership quality the Buccaneers most assuredly needed.
In his senior season at Milford, it could be seen that there was going to be a lot more football in the future for Norwood. The final piece of the puzzle for Norwood at Milford was the arrival of coach Shaun Strickland, who knew that Norwood was just scratching the surface of the player he could become.
When Norwood committed to Salisbury, these were the words he spoke of his coach. “Right from the start when he got here, he believed in me 100 percent,” said Norwood. “He helped me get a lot better and see how much more I could do if I applied myself,”
During his time at Salisbury, Norwood’s level of play kept rising. In this just completed senior season, Norwood was captain on one of the most dominant offensive lines in Division-III football. Anchoring the line at left tackle, Norwood was the leader of an offensive line which averaged 325 yards per game, second in the entire country. For his efforts Norwood received both D3football.com and AP All-American awards on a Salisbury team that finished the regular season 11-1 and earned the New Jersey Athletic Conference title, going undefeated in conference play. The Seagulls went deep into the playoffs as well, getting eliminated in the quarterfinals.
Salisbury offensive line coach Douglass Fleetwood offered high praise for the offensive lineman. “Tyler is a great young man. He comes from a great family that has taught him the true meaning of character and hard work,” he said. “He was a great leader by example for us. He is a tireless worker who got bigger, faster, and stronger every year. He was a true pleasure to coach. Becoming an All-American was a tribute to a great career.”
Norwood was pleased with his accomplishments and grateful for those who helped him along the way. “It was the culmination of a lot of hard work and effort, there is no way I could have done it alone,” said Norwood. “I was just one part of one of the top offensive lines in the country. You can’t do anything by yourself so without my teammates I would have been just another football player.”
Training was a huge catalyst in Norwood’s journey, and he had high praise for his personal trainer Doug Lawson who helped him along the way. “He transformed my life, both athletically and on a personal level. He always has pushed me to be the best I could be,” Norwood commented. “Every time I thought I couldn’t go any further, he showed me I could. I owe an awful lot to him.”
Norwood enjoyed the support of his family as well. “They were there for every game, no matter the weather or anything they were there for me,” he said Norwood. “When you have a support system like I did, it made being successful much more achievable.”
Milford Coach Strickland remembers the recruiting process. When Salisbury first came up to look at a few Milford players, Norwood was not even on their radar. He informed them, “Tyler is the steal of this class. Big, athletic, determined and a weight room junky. His success comes as now surprise to me as I believe the sky is the limit for Tyler.”
Norwood will graduate with a degree in Conflict Resolution and a minor in athletics. He also hopes that this will not be the end of his football career. “I’m going to work out and add the weight I need to play at the next level. I know it’s not going to be easy, but I believe I can get it done,” Norwood said. “Every time I have tried to get better, I’ve been able to achieve my goals, why stop now?”
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