After helping Joe Paterno's football team complete a 9-4 season with a 20-10 win over No. 17 Tennessee in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1, Norwood contacted the basketball staff in the week following the bowl game about the possibility of joining the basketball team. The 5-10, 168-pound guard met with coach Ed DeChellis and began practicing with the team on Jan. 8.
"Jordan is very explosive, quick and athletic and a very good defender," DeChellis said. "He's just trying to learn right now and help the team and get into basketball shape. He adds a dimension for our guards to play against. Jordan's bright, works hard, has good skills and is a great kid and great student, so we're going to see if he can help us out."
Norwood ranked second on the football team with 45 receptions for 472 yards and two touchdowns in 2006. The State College native has been a key cog in the football team's offense the last two seasons. He started eight games in 2006 and has played in 23 of Penn State's 25 games the last two seasons and was key in helping Penn State to a 26-23 triple-overtime victory over Florida State in the 2006 FedEX Orange Bowl, leading the team with six catches for 110 yards. He has 77 career receptions for 894 yards in two seasons with the football team.
On the basketball court, Norwood led State College Area High School to its first-ever PIAA Class AAAA state title in basketball in 2003. The point-guard was twice selected the Mountain Athletic Conference Defensive Player-of-the-Year and averaged 7.3 ppg. He helped lead State College High to a 51-9 record in basketball and surprised many when he chose to pursue football in college. His older brother, Gabe, plays for George Mason and saw significant action in the 2006 Final Four.
Some may have been surprised when Norwood announced his decision to play football at Penn State. Prior to the 2005 season, Norwood was a hometown hero best known for starring as the point guard on State College Area High School's basketball team and leading the Little Lions to their first-ever state championship. Following a game and season-high six receptions for 110 yards against Florida State in the 2006 FedEx Orange Bowl that capped a meteoric emergence among a group of talented freshmen receivers, no one is surprised anymore. Polite and unassuming off the field, Norwood, whose first love was football, is a fierce and fearless competitor on it, displaying exceptional hands, lightning quick moves and a penchant for making clutch first downs. Proving too valuable to redshirt after sitting out the season-opener with South Florida, the talented and intelligent Norwood played in 10 games in 2005 and ranked second on the team with 32 receptions for 422 yards. The total ranks second only to classmate Deon Butler's 691 yards among the best seasons by a freshman in school history. The son of Penn State safeties coach Brian Norwood, 2005-06 was a very good year to be a member of the Norwood family. In addition to the Nittany Lions' Big Ten and Orange Bowl titles, Jordan also got a courtside view as his older brother, Gabe, helped lead George Mason to an improbable berth in the NCAA Final Four as a junior guard. A team-high eight receptions for 154 yards in the 2006 Blue-White game demonstrated the elusive receiver is a favorite target of Anthony Morelli and one of the most dangerous, if understated, weapons in the Nittany Lion attack.
2005 Freshman Season