Welcome back to another edition of our 2020 Countdown to Kickoff series! We’re officially less than two weeks away from watching the Oklahoma Sooners host Missouri State in the season opener. With 13 days left on the clock, I want to highlight an OU player who’s making a major comeback after being sidelined in 2019. I’m talking about redshirt junior DB Tre Norwood!
Coming out of Northside High School in Fort Smith, Ark., Norwood joined the Sooners as part of the 2017 recruiting class. While he wasn’t expected to contribute heavily as a true freshman, he earned playing time immediately and ultimately started the final five games of the ‘17 season for Oklahoma at corner.
A year later, Norwood had firmly established himself as one of the secondary’s top playmakers — largely at safety down the stretch. Whether it was on defense or special teams, he regularly came up big for the much-maligned OU defense.
Through his first two collegiate seasons (2017-2018), Norwood participated in 28 games and made starts in the last 19. Statistically, he totaled 88 combined tackles, including a pair of stops for loss, 14 pass breakups and one interception.
Speaking of his lone INT, it couldn’t have come on a bigger stage. In the 2018 Big 12 Championship Game, Oklahoma was not only seeking a win over its Red River rival — the Texas Longhorns — this was also an historic in-season rematch between the two storied programs for the conference crown. As OU held a 39-27 lead with under a minute remaining, UT QB Sam Ehlinger’s pass toward the end zone was tipped by Parnell Motley and into the clutches of Norwood. In that moment, the Sooners could finally breathe knowing another Big 12 title had been added to the trophy case back in Norman.
Although losing Norwood to a knee injury right before the start of the 2019 season was a significant blow to Oklahoma’s secondary, it allowed him to re-examine the game from a different perspective. He also used that time to work on building and strengthening his body. Going into the 2018 season, the 6’0 defensive back was listed at a wiry 179 pounds, but coming into the 2020 campaign, this veteran DB is now checking in at a solid 194.
One of the things that makes Norwood such a commodity for Alex Grinch’s defense is his versatility on the field. He has the tools to challenge for the starting nickel spot as well as some snaps at the cornerback spot opposite senior Tre Brown. Wherever the team needs him most is likely where he’ll wind up, but knowing he has the ability and the experience to move around the secondary should offer at least some relief for his coaches and teammates.
Thank God and have fun... it’s all there. pic.twitter.com/cYL5c9TDMn— Tre Norwood (@trenorwood_3) April 17, 2020
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