Is Norton ready for a return to Rocky Top?
One of the top players in the State of Tennessee for 2019 is Memphis native Bill Norton. The Christian Brothers lineman has seen plenty of interest from many of the top schools in college football after his junior season. That includes the home-state Volunteers and new head coach Jeremy Pruitt, as he and his staff have made sure Norton knows he is a top priority.
"I'm definitely looking forward to getting up there and seeing the new staff," Norton said.
"Last year I didn't have a good experience at Tennessee. Last year, I went up there and the defensive line coach didn't even know Tennessee had already offered me. He was telling me to come up to camp and then maybe they could get me a scholarship. That turned me away, but now I'm a huge fan of coach Pruitt and I'm excited to meet coach (Tracy) Rocker."
Norton has been able to communicate with Pruitt, as the veteran and brilliant defensive minded head coach works the trail closing up the 2018 class.
"Coach Pruitt has a presence and you are going to listen to what he has to say," Norton said. "All of the defenses he has coached. He's well respected and has a great reputation. He tells me that he likes my versatility. He likes that if I put on weight, I can play inside or if I work on speed that I can stay on the outside."
Tennessee had a mini-Junior Day two weeks ago and they are slated to host more juniors next weekend. Norton hopes to come up soon, but isn't really keen on the idea of coming on a weekend that will feature a lot of different prospects. He's been to Knoxville before and it's less about seeing the weight room, stadium and academic facilities. It's more about getting to know the people.
"I'm going to try and come up with just my parents," Norton said.
"We have been up to junior days before. We are going to come up when the coaches have more time to get to know each other. On junior days, there are lots of kids there and the coaches have keep moving. I want to get to know them and spend time with them. I think that's the best way to do that is to come up on a day where it's just my family and myself."
Georgia, Mississippi State, Ohio State and Penn State join the Vols in staying in close contact Norton. He has 13 offers and gains more and more traction by the day in recruiting circles.
On the field, Norton continues to work on his craft during the offseason. He's focused on improving each and every day.
"I think with run defense," Norton noted about where he's improved.
"We averaged only giving up 27 yards per game. I worked a lot on that like shedding blocks and I've also been working on pass rushes like working on new moves with my defensive line coach and strength coach. I've just been working on all facets of my game."
A strong work ethic from a kid who just won Mr. Football for his classification as a junior.
"I wasn't supposed to win it," Norton said. "I thought Cameron Johnson was going to win. Cameron is a phenomenal athlete. He was a senior, but when they called my name, I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what to say to him. It was one of the craziest days of my life. It was wild."