Hackenberg breaks Penn State freshman passing record with 311 yards; Belton and Lynch each run for 108 yards
The litany of outstanding Penn State quarterbacks and wide receivers did not produce a trio of players with 40 or more receptions in the same season until 2006, in the Nittany Lions' 120th season of football. The trio of Jordan Norwood, Deon Butler and Derrick Williams provided an infusion of play-making skills to the offense during their freshman season in 2005. Working with record-setting quarterback Anthony Morelli in 2006, all three wideouts made 40 or more receptions, a first for the program. With an opportunity to work out with Morelli throughout the months following the 2006 season, last year was even more productive for the talented trio. All three wideouts grabbed at least 40 passes, marking just the second time for the feat in 121 years. The swift and sure-handed Norwood reached the milestone with a splash in the 31-0 win at Temple as he grabbed a pair of first-quarter touchdown passes for his first career multi-touchdown game. The athletic and highly skilled Norwood has quietly moved up the school career receiving charts and finds himself in some heady company entering his senior season. The former State College Area HS standout is tied for No. 4 in career receptions with 117 (with Williams and Jack Curry), nine away from third place (O.J. McDuffie, 125). Norwood has gained 1,378 receiving yards, good for No. 12 on the career list, needing 142 yards to crack the Top 10. A humble, quiet young man off the field, Norwood is a gritty, hard-working player with soft and reliable hands. He delivered arguably the Lions' most outstanding reception in 2007 in the win over Buffalo. Late in the second quarter, Morelli fired a five-yard pass to Norwood, who tipped the ball in the air with his left hand and snared it with his right just above the turf while lying on his back in the end zone to complete the superlative catch and give the Lions a 17-3 halftime lead. The circus catch by the intelligent and instinctive Norwood was selected the "Play-of-the-Day" by ESPN's SportsCenter. Norwood earned his degree in advertising and public relations in May and is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree. He was selected ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District in 2007 and should be a strong candidate for Academic All-America® honors this year. His father, Brian, was named defensive coordinator at Baylor in December 2007 after seven years as safeties coach at Penn State. Norwood is one of three returning Nittany Lions that played at State College Area HS.
2007 Junior Season
Norwood continued to be a highly productive wideout and quietly moved up the school career receiving charts. Playing in every game, with five starts, Norwood made a team-high five touchdown catches and ranked third on the team with 40 receptions and 484 yards. Norwood joined Deon Butler and Derrick Williams in each making at least 40 receptions in a season, marking just the second time for the feat in 121 years, with the first coming in 2006. Norwood reached the milestone with a splash in the 31-0 win at Temple. He grabbed a pair of first-quarter touchdown passes (15 and 22 yards) for his first career multi-touchdown game. Norwood delivered arguably the Lions' most outstanding reception of the season in the win over Buffalo. Late in the second quarter, Anthony Morelli fired a five-yard pass to Norwood, who tipped the ball in the air with his left hand and snared it with his right just above the turf while lying on his back in the end zone to complete the superlative catch and give the Lions a 17-3 halftime lead. The circus catch was selected the "Play-of-the-Day" by ESPN's SportsCenter. He made five receptions for a season-high 92 yards in the season-opening win over Florida International. He took a short pass from Morelli and ran into the end zone for a second-quarter score in the 31-10 win over Notre Dame, eclipsing 1,000 career receiving yards on the play. Norwood broke his career-long catch twice at Illinois with 42 and 43-yard grabs, both of which set up scores. He made three catches for 89 yards against the Illini. In the important win at Indiana, he made a career-high eight catches, including seven in the first half, for 65 yards to become the ninth player in school history with 100 career receptions. Norwood hauled in a 12-yard TD reception just before the first half ended to give the Lions a 20-14 lead. He made a team-high six catches against Ohio State. Norwood saw his string of games with at least one catch end at 21, as he did not have a reception against Michigan State or Texas A&M. He was on the field for 539 snaps, led by 53 at Indiana and 52 against Notre Dame and Iowa. Norwood earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District accolades and Academic All-Big Ten honors for the second time.
2006 Sophomore Season
Norwood led the Nittany Lions in receiving yards in five games and topped the team in receptions on five occasions. Playing in every game, with eight starts, he made 45 receptions for 472 yards and two touchdowns, ranking second on the team in all three categories. His 45 catches were 11th-best on the school season list. In the season-opener with Akron, Norwood caught his first career touchdown pass on a 14-yard strike across the middle from Anthony Morelli. He led all receivers with a career-high seven receptions against the Zips. At No. 4 Notre Dame, Norwood led the Lions in receiving for the third straight game, including the 2006 FedEx Orange Bowl, posting six catches for 91 yards. His 34-yard catch in the third quarter helped set up Penn State's first score. Norwood led Penn State with five catches at Ohio State, he made five grabs for 76 yards at Minnesota and two receptions for 58 yards at Purdue. On Senior Day against Michigan State, he made three catches for 29 yards, including a six-yard scoring strike from Morelli that gave Penn State a 14-13 lead in the third quarter. Norwood made a team-high four receptions in the Outback Bowl win over Tennessee, giving him 10 catches in two bowl games, good for a tie for fourth on the school career list. He was on the field for 532 snaps, topped by 59 against Minnesota. He joined the Nittany Lion basketball team in January, providing depth in the backcourt. Norwood compiled a 3.54 grade-point average during the Fall semester to gain Dean's List and Academic All-Big Ten recognition.
2005 Freshman Season
Having delayed his enrollment until January of 2005, Norwood used the winter and spring workouts to quickly assimilate himself with the Nittany Lion offense. The work showed as he played in 10 games, ranked second on the squad with 32 receptions for 422 yards (13.1 avg.) and emerged as a dangerous target among a talented group of freshmen receivers. His 422 yards were second-highest by a freshman in school season history, trailing only classmate Deon Butler's 691. He had six receptions for 20 yards or more and added two carries for 24 yards, including a big 17-yard reverse deep in Purdue territory. Norwood finished the season with a huge effort, grabbing a game and season-high six passes for 110 yards against Florida State in the FedEx Orange Bowl. He had three receptions of 20 yards or longer against the Seminoles, including a season-best 38-yard effort that took the ball to the Florida State 11-yard line late in the game. Held out of the opener with South Florida as a redshirt was contemplated, the sure-handed athlete proved too valuable to keep off the field. In the first road and Big Ten game of his career, he made several big catches in a comeback win at Northwestern, leading the Lions with five receptions for 83 yards. He also made five grabs for 36 yards in the huge win over Ohio State, accumulated 63 yards on four receptions in his first start at Michigan and gained 59 yards on four catches against Purdue. After missing the Illinois game due to a slight foot injury, Norwood started the last three games of the season. He saw action on 394 snaps, led by 70 against Florida State.
Norwood was a standout on the gridiron and hardwood at State College Area HS. He was a catalyst for the Little Lions' march to the Class AAAA state semifinals. As a senior, he made 21 catches for 273 yards and four touchdowns for Coach Dave Lintal's squad. Norwood also was a noted point guard on the basketball squad, helping State High to the 2003 Class AAAA state title. He was twice selected the Mountain Athletic Conference Defensive Player-of-the-Year.
Full name is Jordan Shea Rashad Norwood. His father, Brian, is in his seventh season coaching the Penn State secondary and his mother is Tiffiney. Jordan has one older brother, Gabe, who was a junior on the George Mason University basketball team that advanced to the 2006 NCAA Final Four; two younger brothers, Levi and Zaccariah, and a younger sister, Brianna. Norwood is an advertising and public relations major, who earned Dean's List and Academic All-Big Ten accolades in the Fall 2005 and `06 semesters. Born September 29, 1986.