2011 Recruiting: Tigers lead for junior lineman after visit

by - Senior Writer -
Norton: “I don’t like to just block a guy, I want to put him in the ground.

There are times when playing offensive line is just as much about attitude as anything else, but it also helps to have the size and talent to back that attitude up.

Turns out that Maudlin High School offensive lineman Ryan Norton has all of the tools to play offensive line on the collegiate level, matching his size (6-4, 274) to his attitude and talent.

Norton’s position coach at Mauldin High School, Lee Taylor, said Norton is not just satisfied with blocking the defender; he wants to take it a step further.

“Ryan doesn’t just want to block you, he wants to bury you,” Taylor said. “When he blocks you, he just has that mindset. He is also the one that wants to take more reps at practice, and if something doesn’t feel right to him, he will take extra reps on his own. Ryan is quiet and doesn’t say a lot off the field, but when he steps on that field he is all business.”

The Mauldin junior took an official visit to Clemson this past weekend, took in the basketball game versus Maryland, then got a huge surprise when he was offered by the Clemson coaches.

“That was just a huge weight off my shoulders,” Norton said of the offer. “I had been waiting on the first offer, and I had been kind of stressing about it, so to get the offer was awesome. I was kind of taken aback, and really didn’t know what to say.”

Norton didn’t have long to wait for his second offer, either, hearing from Georgia Tech offensive line coach Todd Spencer on Monday. Spencer told Norton he officially had an offer from the Yellow Jackets as well, but Norton said Clemson was the leader at this point.

“Clemson is my leader right now,” Norton said. “I have been to Clemson, and it was great, but I might go down to Tech this weekend and talk to Coach Spencer. I really want to commit and know where I am going before my senior season. I want to commit early if everything feels right.”

And what would make a school “feel right” to Norton?

“First of all, it’s definitely about the education and graduation rate,” he said. “I want to go to a school that has players graduate. The second thing is the coaching staff, because they will be like a second family wherever I am at. Third would be the atmosphere. I am not going somewhere I know I won’t like.”

And lastly, he wants to go somewhere where he can play his bruising, physical style.

“I like it when you can get down and dirty and bust somebody’s nose open,” Norton said. “I don’t like to just block a guy, I want to put him in the ground. I want to make it so he doesn’t want to get back up when he faces me.”

2011 Football Commitments

Shaq Anthony        OL   6-5 260 Piedmont, SC (Wren HS)
Cortez Davis        DB   6-5 200 Daytona Beach, FL (Mainland HS)
Brandon Ellerbe     ATH  6-1 200 Wadesboro, NC (Anson HS)
Marlin Lane         RB   6-1 190 Daytona Beach, FL (Mainland HS)
Tony McNeal         QB   6-1 180 Chester, SC (Chester, HS)
Robert Smith        ATH  6-0 180 Ft Dorchester, SC (Woodland HS)
DeShaun Williams    DT   6-0 280 Central, SC (Daniel HS)

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