Coastal’s Norman selected in fifth round by Panthers

The two-day waiting period may have seemed like a lifetime, as waiting for the phone to ring can leave tension and pressure during the draft, but the Carolina Panthers came calling on Day 3 of the 2012 NFL Draft for Josh Norman of Coastal Carolina.

Standing at 6-2, 190 pounds, the Greenwood native, will be staying around the Carolinas in 2012-13, after being chosen with the eighth pick in the fifth round on Saturday by the Panthers.
A two-time All-American at Coastal, Norman made the first team list with the Chanticleers last fall. He finished 2011 with 12 pass break-ups tying him at seventh in the NCAA, and finished tied for tenth in the NCAA ranks with a 1.27 passes defended count at Coastal as a senior.

Through 46 games played from 2008-11 with Coastal, Norman had a career total of 35 pass break-ups, 13 interceptions , including one interception and one blocked kick in an edge-of-your-seat 15-8 win at home against Presbyterian last season.

Against Charleston Southern this past fall, Norman had a total of eight tackles to lead the team in a 45-38 win on the road. In a 30-23 win at home over Furman, Norman had two pass break-ups. In 2011, along with adding 49 solo tackles, Norman assisted on 13 more tackles for a total of 62. Norman finished his career with the Chanticleers with 196 total tackles, with 138 being solo tackles. He added four blocked kicks and four forced fumbles while playing in Conway.

With the numbers that Norman was able to accomplish on the defense for the Chanticleers, he was able to garner All-Big South Conference honors three times (2009, 2010 and 2011).

Norman is just one of two Coastal Carolina and Big South players to play in the Shrine Game, along with Jerome Simpson. He and Rashad Jennings (Liberty, 2009) have been the only two players from the Big South to participate in the Senior Bowl. Norman was the first from Coastal.

He becomes the third player from Coastal to be drafted since 2007. The others include Tyler Thigpen and Simpson. Former Chanticleer All-American Quinton Teal, Maurice Simpkins and new Carolina Panther teammate Mike Tolbert, all have made NFL rosters from the school.

Translating into the NFL, Norman should help immediately bolster the defense of the Carolina Panthers. Carolina allowed 318 receptions in 2011 for 4119 yards and 28 touchdowns. As a defensive unit, the Panthers tallied 14 interceptions last season. Sherrod Martin and Chris Gamble each finished at the top of the defensive interception list with three a season ago.

Carolina, which finished 24th in the NFL in defending the pass with 246.8 yards per game and 25th against the run allowing 130.8 yards per game. Those numbers look to improve with additions such as Norman, linebacker Luke Kuechly from Boston College, defensive end Frank Alexander out of Oklahoma, and free safety D.J. Campbell out of California.

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