Sept. 22, 2012

Junior offensive lineman Andrew Norwell knows where hard work, dedication and having a set goal can lead him. After serving backup as a true freshman in 2010, the Cincinnati native set a goal during the off-season to be a starter. Through hard work in the weight room, film room and practice field, Norwell met his goal by starting all 13 games as a sophomore last season.

Norwell was an immediate contributor on the field, competing without the advantage of a redshirt season. While most view a redshirt season as an opportunity to improve strength and skills and adjust to the college game, Norwell believes he actually profited from playing immediately.

“Having a redshirt season can be a real benefit,” Norwell said. “You can get bigger and stronger and also you have a year of academics you can complete without losing your eligibility. However, I feel like playing as a true freshman helped me out a lot because I would always prepare going into the game like I was a starter. Sophomore year I knew the routine really well and had already played in games. It helped me out tremendously and gave me an advantage over other players I was competing with.”

His move to a starting role was also spurred by a position change. A few games into his sophomore season, coaches informed Norwell he would be transitioning from left tackle to left guard. It was a challenging switch, but one he embraced.

“I liked the transition a lot,” Norwell said. “It kept me on the field in a different position. It was a transition that I did in a week and it took extra practice and work. Learning all the fundamentals that goes with the position was a major test, but I’ve really come to like it and feel  it was a good change.”

Earning the starting position at left guard was a big opportunity for Norwell. While many players might be intimated by starting a new position, Norwell knew his coaches and teammates believed in him and he had the ability to get the job done.

“It felt great [to be a starter] and the role came with a lot responsibility, but I was confident in myself. Being a true sophomore lineman and playing next to talented guys like [Michael] Brewster, Mike Adams and J.B. [Shugarts] made everything easier. Last year our line was really good and I learned from the older guys. They taught me so much, and the fact they were great leaders and friends to me meant a lot.”

As his talents as a player have grown, so has his hair – Norwell has been growing out his hair since 2010 and is proud of his long blonde locks.

“It was something fun to do and the girls love it,” Norwell joked. “I like the long hair. ‘Curls for the girls’ is one of my sayings because I have naturally curly hair the girls are jealous of. I think it is something that sets me apart from the rest of the group.” 

With two years of eligibility remaining, Norwell is beginning to plan for the future. Playing in the National Football League is the ultimate goal, an objective that will require hard work and dedication. Having already met many of the goals he has set for himself, Norwell is confident his work ethic and commitment to the game will help him achieve his dream. 

 by Ciara Travis, Athletics Communications