Future Buff?

Clay Norgard calls some of the most famous players in Colorado history friends because many of them were teammates in Boulder with his father, Erik, in the late 1980s. It figures that a lifelong association with the program would have Clay, a 2012 prospect, looking hard at his dad's alma mater. Get inside for more.

Clay Norgard, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound defensive tackle from Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch, will be one of the most closely watched prospects in Colorado over the next two seasons.

Norgard is extremely familiar with the Colorado program and already considers the Buffs one the favorites for his signature should the program offer him a scholarship, but he's also keeping his options open without having really experienced much of the recruiting process at all at this point at the tail end of his sophomore year.

His father, Erik, played center for the Buffs in 1987 and 1988 before moving on to the professional ranks. Clay has grown up around the black, silver and gold and doesn't mind the idea of following in his father's footsteps one bit.

"He's really passionate about CU," Norgard said of his father. "He always talks about it."

How much does it help having a father who played the game in college and 10 years in the NFL with two different teams?

"That helps me a lot actually," Norgard said. "I started playing football in the fifth grade because my mom had held me back until then. She didn't want me to play pee-wee football. But he was my coach from fifth grade all the way up to eighth grade, and he taught me a lot.

"I played offensive line and defensive line. When you get to the high school level, you can't really play both ways as effectively as you could then. So they moved me to d-line because they needed more people in that spot. But growing up with him, I've really loved football and I've really been passionate just as much as he has. He's been my idol since I've grown up."

Norgard said he is planning to attend one of the football camps at Colorado this summer. He said he could also attend a camp at Washington near his grandparents' home and he would like to go to Missouri's camp and check out the school because he is interested in the journalism program there.

Norgard played his entire sophomore season on the varsity team, moving around on the defensive line. Senior teammates started the season ahead of him on the depth chart, but he earned extensive playing time despite his age and inexperience and became a starter later in the year.

"It was good because I enjoyed the competition and it really made me work hard," he said.

Norgard is setting his sights high for his junior season in the fall. He earned first-team all-conference as a sophomore and wants to be All-Colorado next season. He is expected to be one of the anchors of his team.

"We're going to be young next year," he said. "I mean, we're going to have some seniors returning, but we're only going to have three returning starters on defense and four on offense."

Norgard is is competing in shot put, discus and the 100 meters this spring in track. He said running sprints has made him faster and he expects it to help with his pass rushing and pursuing ball carriers on the gridiron.

Scout.com will keep in touch with Norgard in the future and help readers track his progress toward joining a college program.

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