ROCKINGHAM — It was a busy weekend for Richmond Senior’s Alex Norton.
The senior made his official visit to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. and returned home after giving Falcons head coach Troy Calhoun a verbal commitment.
“The main thing for me was after you graduate from there you are set for life,” Norton said. “With a degree from there, people come after you, you don’t have to go out looking for a job.”
Norton, who plans on majoring in business, said he selected Air Force over Wofford and Western Carolina. He is expected to move from guard to center for the Falcons.
“I still wanted to play football, so I wanted to go somewhere where I could play and earn a good degree,” Norton said.
Norton becomes the fourth Raider to verbally commit to a school, joining Trent Bostick (UNC Charlotte), Devant’e Covington (South Carolina) and Dakwa Nichols (N.C. State). Offensive lineman Tyrone Crowder is expected to make his official visit to Clemson this weekend after cancelling a trip last week.
In addition to making his college selection this weekend, Norton was named to the USA Football under-18 national team which will face Team Canada during the fourth annual International Bowl at 8:30 p.m. Feb. 6 in Austin, Texas.
The squad will be led by Pinecrest coach Chris Metzger, while Richmond coach Paul Hoggard will serve as an assistant.
“I didn’t know anything about it until Coach called me into his office one day and told me,” Norton said. “I’m very excited. I’m going to like it a because I’m going to be coached by Coach Hoggard one more time. I’m going to miss being on his team.”
Hoggard said he was surprised and honored to learn of his selection, but was concerned about the commitment.
“I asked them how much time would I have to pick players and they said none because a committee selects the team,” Hoggard said. “I asked then what do I have to do and they said just coach the offensive line. I’m OK with that.”
Even though Metzger is known for running the Veer offense at Pinecrest, Team USA will be using a more conventional attack against Team Canada.
“My understanding is we are going to be running out of the I-formation — toss, power and counter,” Hoggard said. “Pretty base stuff.”
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.