Offensive tackle Storm Norton has played as well as any UT player over the last 18 months, coach Jason Candle says. THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER
When University of Toledo offensive tackle Storm Norton stepped on campus his freshman year, he was a wide-eyed, 330-pound teenager.
As Norton enters his senior season, the Whitmer product has completely transformed his body and in the process turned himself into an all-conference player.
“I feel like I’m pretty much a new man,” Norton said. “Just the other day I was looking at my freshman picture, and I had a buzz cut and was about 330 pounds, I think I’m definitely a different person, and I like the new me.”
Now 6 feet, 8 inches and 306 pounds with long flowing blonde hair, Norton’s dedication in the weight room and attention to detail on the field helped him earn All-MAC honors as a junior.
“Storm Norton has arguably played his position for the last 18 months as well as anybody on the team,” UT coach Jason Candle said. “Prior to that 18 months I don’t know if that was true, but I really appreciate his work ethic and his buy-in value being at all-time high. I think his teammates really rally around him and respect his work ethic.”
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As a senior at Whitmer, Norton was first-team All-Ohio, but he came into college as a raw prospect who had the size but not necessarily the strength and technique.
“Just like any 6-foot-7 kid in high school, you’re the biggest guy on the field, and you are able to have your way just because of your size,” Candle said. “When you get to college and you find out that everybody was the most explosive and biggest guy on their high school team, you have to tweak and turn your game and figure out how you’re going to gain an advantage. He’s certainly done that. He’s committed himself to the weight room.”
Norton got his chance to start on the offensive line as a sophomore, when Greg Mancz went down with an injury.
“My redshirt sophomore year was when I started those four games when Greg Mancz was hurt,” Norton said. “That was kind of putting my foot in and getting my feet wet. The older guys really helped show me what to do and what not to do.”
Heading into last season, UT graduated its entire starting offensive line, and the position was a major question mark. Norton and others stepped up and proved they deserved to be on the field.
As this year approaches, Norton, along with seniors Paul Perschon and Mike Ebert and junior Elijah Nkansah, anchors a unit that should be a major strength for the team.
Norton has embraced his role as the local standout and hopes he can help deliver the Rockets a MAC championship.
“It’s been awesome being close to my family and friends and having them come watch,” Norton said. “Now being a senior it just means that much more to get one more opportunity to bring a championship to my city.”
As he continues to develop physically and improve his skills, Norton has established himself as an NFL prospect.
“He has big dreams on the football field, and I think he has a lot of football ahead of him still too,” Candle said.
Contact Brian Buckey at: email@example.com or 419-724-6110.