UA Game: Alex Norman

Coaches look for toughness in prospects. And this year, Alex Norman has shown that quality by the bushel load.

When Norman injured his ankle in Bishop Dunne's 35-28 loss to powerhouse Prestonwood Christian, he tried to get back out on the field before his ankle failed him. He did play the next game, a playoff loss to Kelly Catholic that ended Bishop Dunne's season. And shortly after that, in football class, Norman was doing mat drills when he tweaked his ankle again.

The diagnosis: it was fractured the whole time.

Norman went to work on rehabilitating the ankle, and said that "it's healing great." But that same injury might keep him from playing in Thursday's UnderArmour All-America Game.

"I just need more time to let it rest," Norman said. "I'll play if I can."

But Norman said he wouldn't do it if he felt it would be harmful in the long run.

"On a larger scale, it's more important (to be healthy) for college," Norman said. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime type thing, but college is what I did all this for. When I got here, it was all based on the dream and the ambition of getting to college. So I don't want to hurt myself for that."

Make no mistake: Norman wants to play. On the final day of padded practice, Norman went through a workout with the UnderArmour trainers to test the ankle out, but didn't show well enough to be able to join practice. And he didn't suit up for the team walk-through on Wednesday.

"A couple of the drills (the trainer) saw me do, he knew exactly what would happen, and how I would feel," Norman said. "And he wasn't comfortable letting me go out there just yet."

Still, he's holding out hope that he'll be allowed to play on Thursday. And he said even if he couldn't go, the experience was worth the trip.

"All of us (not just the Texas commits) are really connecting," Norman said. "We don't really know each other, because we're across the country, but we've connected."

But Norman said he still spends most of his time with his fellow future Longhorns.

"It's crazy," Norman said. "It's exciting to be representing the school that we're about to go to. I'm really excited about that."

Bishop Dunne doesn't allow for early graduates, so Norman will report to Austin in June with the bulk of the 2012 recruiting class.

"I can't wait," Norman said. "My mom went there. I go down there and it's just a family. Everybody loves everybody. The coaches are like father figures. The players are like brothers. It's a great experience, and it just felt right. That's why I chose Texas."

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