One-on-one with Eric Norwood as USC great prepares for CFL season
ATLANTA Eric Norwood says his place in the South Carolina football record book remains a source of pride.
The All-American linebacker is the Gamecocks’ career leader in sacks (29) and tackles for loss (54.5) after his standout career from 2006 to 2009. The records withstood a strong three-year career from defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (2011-13), who finished with 24 sacks and 47 tackles for loss before turning pro.
“I definitely think Clowney would have broken it had he stayed,” Norwood said this week as part of an appearance at the Atlanta Gamecock Club’s spring meeting.
There is one player on the current USC roster who Norwood believes could break that career sack mark.
“One guy in particular, Bryson Allen-Williams, I definitely think he has the potential,” Norwood said. “We play a lot a like. I know him because he’s a local guy.”
Allen-Williams starred locally at Cedar Grove High and signed with the Gamecocks in 2014. Norwood was a product of North Cobb High in Acworth, Ga.
To break Norwood’s records would take an average of 14.5 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss in 2016 and 2017 from Allen-Williams, who has a half-sack and six tackles for loss in his first two seasons. Allen-Williams is slated to play linebacker under Will Muschamp but has also cross-trained at the Buck position, which is typically reserved for a pass-rush specialist.
The potential is there, Norwood said.
“That’s one of the guys that I believe can break my record within two seasons,” he said. “He could put up 15-plus sacks just from what I saw in high school.”
Norwood is ahead of schedule in the rehabilitation of a right knee injury, he said. He had 123 tackles and 24 sacks over three seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats before being released. He reports to his new team, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, later this month and could miss a few games because of the injury.
Norwood was a fourth round draft pick by the Carolina Panthers in 2010 and has not ruled out a return to the NFL one day. The interest from NFL teams has been there, he said.
“With this injury, I’ve got to basically ball out again this year and try to sign as a 28-year-old, three-year veteran,” he said. “You never know how that’s going to go.”