Senior left tackle producing on and off the gridiron
Salisbury University football’s senior left tackle Tyler Norwood may spend a lot of time listening to Bruno Mars, but in the classroom and on the field, he is all business.
Norwood was recognized for his academic and athletic achievements as he was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District First Team on Thursday.
The award is given to student-athletes that maintain at least a 3.3 grade point average and have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing. Student-athletes must have participated in at least 50% of the team's games and be a starter.
His success is a result of many factors in his life, but he credits his mother as his main motivation.
When Norwood was growing up, his mother was pursuing her nursing degree. Norwood said she is the reason behind his work ethic.
Despite being a single mother, she always made time to support him through every struggle and circumstance.
“My mom had me her senior year of high school, and she’s a nurse now,” Norwood said. “Her work ethic means a lot to me. For her to go to classes and have a son at such a young age, still finding time to make it to all my games, it just means so much to me.”
The Milford, Delaware native carries a 3.41 grade point average and has made the dean’s list twice.
He is also a conflict analysis and dispute resolution major with a minor in athletic coaching at Salisbury.
Norwood said the routine and sometimes hectic schedule of being a student-athlete has helped him to learn to balance his different responsibilities well.
“Playing a sport means I’m pretty much forced to have good time management skills,” Norwood said. “So, it really helps me balance being a student-athlete.”
Offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Doug Fleetwood said Norwood is a tremendous worker and, in his mind, should be considered for an All-American.
“From the day he got here, he did nothing but work hard,” Fleetwood said. “He is a tribute to what this game should be about.”
Norwood first started playing football in his freshman year at Milford High School.
Out of high school, Fleetwood said that Norwood wasn’t at the strength level they wanted him to be at to play left tackle.
After the coaches told him that, Norwood spent many long hours in the weight room.
“He went to the weight room and worked hard and pretty much lived in there,” Fleetwood said. “He’s gotten stronger, faster and has changed his body into an outstanding college offensive lineman.”
Sophomore quarterback Jack Lanham said Norwood is a leader on and off the field, acting as a true captain to many on the Sea Gull football team.
“I think whatever he says to people, they usually respect what he has to say,” Lanham said. “His work ethic is unmatched, all the work he put in this offseason is really showing now, so a lot of people respect him for that.”
Norwood and his teammates on the offensive line pace a Salisbury offense that is ranked fourth in rushing, eighth in scoring offense and 27th in total offense in Division III.
Norwood came into college weighing around 285 pounds and increased his weight to about 315 to play guard at Salisbury.
Instead of playing guard, the coaches wanted Norwood to play offensive tackle, so he had to drop his weight back down to around 270.
He has helped the sixth-ranked Salisbury football team clinch the New Jersey Athletic Conference Championship and a spot in the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament as well as the second-highest national ranking in school history.
Lanham said he will miss Norwood’s goofy personality the most when he graduates.
“I’m going to miss his personality,” Lanham said. “I think he is a funny guy, and I’m probably going to miss his mustache and the lightheartedness he brings.”
By DANIELLE TYLER
Featured photo: Sports Information image.