Something to Prove

Levi Norwood convinced the Penn State coaches and a pair of future teammates he belongs in Happy Valley. Now he is anxious to show the rest of the Nittany Nation.

Levi Norwood knew he had to make a statement when he attended Penn State's senior-only camp this part weekend.

Now attending Midway High in Waco, Texas, Norwood missed his junior football season in the Lone Star State last fall after transferring in from State College (Pa.) High earlier in the year.

He wanted to take some time to adjust to a new school after his dad (Brian) switched jobs -- from a defensive backs' coach at Penn State to the defensive coordinator at Baylor. And Levi did just that, settling in at Midway after a bit of a difficult transition and earning a starting job on the school's basketball team last winter.

But Levi, who is also the younger brother of former Lion receiver Jordan Norwood, always dreamed of following in Jordan's footsteps at Penn State. So last spring, he began working out with the Midway football team, a strong program that features Scout.com five-star safety prospect Ahmad Dixon. Norwood projects as a receiver at the next level.

Though he had begun to gain interest from college program for his basketball skills, Norwood realized he wanted to play football in college. And he wanted to play at Penn State.

“I pretty much knew I wanted to go to Penn State,” he said. “Nowhere else interested me as much as Penn State.”

So he enrolled at PSU's senior-only football camp last week, intent on proving himself to many of the same coaches who had seen him grow up in Happy Valley. And by all accounts, including his own, he exceeded expectations.

“I did better than I thought I would do since I didn't play last year,” Norwood said. “I caught the ball well.”

Penn State coaches are not allowed to comment on prospects who have yet to sign, but a couple of his fellow campers were not bound by such restrains.

Paul Jones, a Scout.com five-star quarterback who committed to the Lions earlier this year, called the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Norwood “a legit beast.”

Jones did not realize Norwood missed the 2008 football season until FOS told him several days after the camp wrapped.

“Wow, really?” Jones replied. “He didn't look rusty at all. He has very nice hands and was very crisp in his route running. Very quick. He is very similar to his brother.”

Adrian Coxson, a five-star receiver who has also committed to PSU, said of Norwood: “He catches the ball very well. He runs good routes.”

Coxson admitted that since he did not go against Norwood in any drills -- they are both receivers -- he could not gauge his speed. But both Coxson and Jones are happy to have Norwood as part of their class.

And he is part of that class now. After taking care of business at the two-day camp, Norwood received a scholarship offer. He committed to the Nittany Lions Wednesday.

There has been speculation that he may “grayshirt,” with the Lions, or delay his full-time enrollment until January of 2011. While Norwood said he is open to the idea, he added, “we're not sure about that yet. We've talked about it. But we really don't know.”

Even with a scholarship in hand, Norwood said he is not finished proving himself. Though Midway won the District 16 AAAA title last year and advanced to the state quarterfinals, it must replace leading receiver Todd Glaesmann.

To prepare, Norwood is running and lifting with his football teammates every morning. On Thursday nights, they go through seven-on-seven drills.

He is anxious for the fall to arrive.

“I just have to go out and prove I belong at that level,” he said, referring to the offer he accepted from Penn State. “I need to show people I belong there.”

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