Norwell Made His Decision Early

Ohio State landed one of the nation's top overall prospects more than 10 months ago, but Andrew Norwell has largely kept a low profile as a senior. Now on the heels of his official visit to see the Buckeyes, the five-star offensive tackle and his coach both talk to about his early decision and his future in Columbus.

More than 10 months have passed since Andrew Norwell issued his verbal commitment to Ohio State, and it has been a relatively quiet time period for the five-star offensive lineman.

That quiet is relative, of course, because the 6-6, 255-pound lineman from Cincinnati Anderson spared himself the hassle of being recruited by teams from around the country, but he also missed most of his senior season with a fractured left tibia.

Now, on the heels of his official visit to check out the Buckeyes during the weekend of Dec. 12, Norwell said he is excited to get back to working out.

"It's pretty tough, but I've got to make sure I do everything right first before I start doing everything on the field," he said.

Norwell suffered the injury Sept. 18 and said his rehab is on schedule. He is projected to be cleared to resume football-related activities Jan. 1.

"It's going good," he said. "Everything is on schedule. I've just got to keep working hard on it."

This is not the path Norwell envisioned taking to get to Columbus after committing back in February. After leading his team to back-to-back state title games as a starter during his sophomore and junior seasons and winning the championship as a sophomore, Norwell had hoped to bring home another title as a senior.

Along the way, he hoped to limit his profile by committing early and turning down interest from other schools.

"I think that was always a place that he was very, very interested in, and when they offered he was very excited," Anderson head coach Jeff Giesting said. "He held off for a couple months and then finally I said, ‘Andrew, what are you thinking?' and he said, ‘I'm going to Ohio State. There's no place else I want to go.' He was very happy about it."

Had he not committed so early, Giesting said he feels Norwell would have received plenty more offers from schools around the country. What sold Norwell on the Buckeyes, he said, were the relationships he struck up with OSU recruiting coordinator John Peterson and offensive line coach Jim Bollman.

"They like that I play to the whistle and I play hard and just like to play football," Norwell said. "I like talking about it. It's pretty sweet – I'm going to Ohio State to play football."

The firmness of his commitment is to the level where Norwell told Giesting early on to throw away any recruiting mail he receives from other schools, and he does not take phone calls from schools other than OSU.

"I made my decision, so I don't want any other things interfering with it," Norwell said. "He was like, ‘Do you still want the recruiting letters?' and I was like, ‘No, I don't want to deal with that stuff.' I'm not into that. Rankings and stuff, I'm not into that."

Had he not committed to the Buckeyes, Giesting said Norwell would be receiving all kinds of interest.

"He would've had offers from everybody in the country by now," the coach said. "I think he's the best lineman in Ohio. I'm confident he would have had offers from the SEC, the ACC, all the Big Ten schools, everybody.

"He knows he made the right choice. He went up for the spring game and had a great time with his mom. He doesn't talk to anybody except the Ohio State guys."

As it stands, Norwell was receiving plenty of interest with schools such as Notre Dame, Illinois, Cincinnati and Stanford all issuing him scholarship offers.

While in Columbus for his official visit, Norwell said he got to spend time with current Buckeyes Jack Mewhort and J.B. Shugarts as well as 2010 offensive line recruit Matt James from Cincinnati St. Xavier.

Giesting said he envisions Norwell remaining at tackle when he gets to OSU.

"I think so," he said. "He's tall and rangy and he runs fairly well. Like all tackles in college, he'll have trouble with extremely athletic, fast guys coming around the edge like they all do, but he's a kid that once he gets his hands on you he can finish you."

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