Edna senior excels in football, band, academics
Nov. 16, 2013 at 5:16 a.m.
EDNA - Lagreenland Bryant had an idea her oldest son might be special.
Anthony Norman let his mother know what his plans were long before he enrolled at Edna High School.
"He's a talker," Bryant said. "He was always telling us his different ideas. We encourage anything or everything he does."
Norman not only talked the talk - he walked the walk.
He has taken advantage of his opportunities as a student and an athlete.
He was an all-state offensive lineman on the football team, the drum major for the band, and he will graduate this spring as the likely valedictorian of his class.
"He's rare," said Edna head football coach Mike Pierce. "His character, his demeanor, his personality - I've never seen anyone do a lot of those things. I'm just sad that he's a senior."
Norman enjoys the different activities and doesn't mind putting in the extra time to excel in them all.
"During the fall, I'm pretty busy," he said. "I have a lot of late nights studying."
Neither Bryant nor Norman's father, Cornelius Norman, had any difficulty instilling the importance of getting an education.
"We always told him that school is No. 1," Bryant said. "He puts that before everything."
Norman takes advanced placement classes and has a weighted GPA of 5.4.
"My family has always stressed the importance of an education," he said. "My parents have been harping on me since I started school that you've got to get good grades to go anywhere in life."
The 6-foot-2, 274-pound Norman boosted his chances of getting his education paid for with his performance on the football field.
He received a scholarship offer from Abilene Christian University after earning second-team all-state honors last season.
"I love the team element of football," Norman said. "No true football team has just superstars. It takes a team effort from start to finish for the entire game."
Pierce played Norman at left tackle to replace Mac Long, who was also an all-state player before earning a scholarship to the University of Houston.
Norman did not allow a sack during his junior and senior seasons.
"I think what makes him so good is his intensity," Pierce said. "He comes off the ball well and stays with his blocks. He's very similar to when we had Mac Long here as far as intensity and coming off the ball."
When Edna played at Cowboy Memorial Stadium, Norman would go into the locker room at halftime with his teammates.
He received adjustments from the coaches before going back out to the field to direct the band.
He was the assistant drum major last year before being selected as drum major after tryouts this year.
"It's fun seeing everybody walk around," Norman said. "The band is a lot like football. It's one giant family, and I just love the environments of both. I love being in a place where everyone is motivated and working toward a great goal."
Norman wasn't worried about how his football teammates, which included younger brother, Darnelius, a junior defensive end, would react to his being in the band.
"The football team was pretty accepting about that," Norman said. "When I first got it, there were some jokes here and there. They understand I have multiple commitments. They know when I'm playing football I'm giving my heart and soul to the team."
Norman proved his dedication to football during the summer when he was at the school almost every day running and lifting weights.
"I think we did well," he said about the Cowboys, whose season came to an end Thursday night with a loss to Cameron Yoe in the Class 2A, Division I bi-district playoffs. "Obviously, I would have hoped to have a perfect record. We had some good improvement. We got better every single week. We had a lot of fire and a lot of intensity. We were one giant family, and I loved it."
Norman turned 18 in September, and it dawned on Bryant that her son will soon be leaving home for college.
"I'm going to miss him a lot," she said. "I enjoy watching all my children. It's my best pleasure."
Norman is looking forward to playing football at the college level and getting a degree in either psychology or business.
"I'd like to own a psychology firm," he said, "where I can take care of a lot of people."
Pierce has no doubt Norman will accomplish whatever he sets out to do.
"He's going to have a chance to play in college and do something good with his life," Pierce said. "He'll do well with his grades and football playing. He's a poster child for what every kid should be like."