Bend 'backer one to keep an eye on

EVERY SUCCESSFUL COLLEGE program has them, the under the radar guys who in college develop into key contributors. Oregon State has had a bushel full of those types over the years -- Matt Sieverson from Bend High was one of them. Here in the class of 2010, another Bend product is on the early recruiting radar of Oregon State.

Kenny Norgaard (6-1, 195) is in Oregon State's orbit, says Bend head man Craig Walker.

"His name has been bantered around at Oregon State...I know they want to see (junior) film on him. They have seen film on him when he was a sophomore," said Walker, who mentored Sieverson at Bend and has been in the coaching game for over 30 years.

Oregon has talked to Walker about Norgaard coming out for an unofficial visit this spring while Idaho and Montana, among others, are showing varying shades of interest.

Norgaard, who plays linebacker and h-back for Bend, looks to potentially fit the mold of a run stopping college safety but Walker said he thinks his best position in college will be linebacker.

"Kenny's a defensive player," said Walker. "He plays (strongside) linebacker for us, lines up on or off the line of scrimmage depending on situations and he's also a rush guy.

"The deal with him is he plays with a mean streak. He's a great kid, very kind. But when he steps on the field, there's a snap that takes place."

Norgaard racked up 104 tackles (70 solo) with 5 sacks and a fumble recovery his junior season, earning first team all-league honors for the second straight season.

WALKER SAID Norgaard has a nose for the football and gets there in a hurry but isn't one of those guys who leaps off the screen when seen on film. But Walker also said Norgaard compares favorably to other Beaver linebackers who have developed into solid performers over the course of their careers.

At linebacker, football instincts and read and react time often make the difference. And Walker said that's an area where Norgaard shines.

"Physically I think he still has some work to do but play-wise? No. He isn't going to wow you (on film) at first...It's all about reads. If somebody is coming at him, he's going to fill the hole. If somebody is running away from him, he's going to close," said Walker.

What could make the difference in Norgaard's recruiting might be which schools get to see him up close at their summer camp and then on Friday nights in the fall.

"(Schools) are going to have to project Kenny a little bit. You're not going to sit there and say this guy is the game changer. But he never makes mistakes. He always goes 100 percent," said Walker.

NORGAARD IS ALSO an accomplished baseball player, having served as Bend's starting catcher since his freshman year. But playing on the diamond had also limited the offseason time Norgaard had to hit the weight room for football in the past.

"This year, it's been different...Kenny has been an every day guy in the weight room since January 1," said Walker. "Baseball is after school and he's still lifting in the mornings...He has a lot of room to grow still. It's amazing what I'm seeing him to do right now.

"I'm really curious to see where that's going to take him this year -- because he's just a natural football player and now you add in this weight lifting (dedication). I think he's going to be a different football player than what our league is used to seeing."

Kenny Norgaard profile

Bend running back Kyle Brown (6-0, 190) is also starting to see some college interest, said Walker. "I think he could be an h-back at the next level. I think he could be as good as Sieverson -- but he runs differently than Sieverson. And he's a pretty dang good linebacker," said Walker.

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