Christian Brothers’ Bill Norton won a Mr. Football award in Tennessee.
His grandfather, Buddy Soefker, played for LSU in the early 1960s, but Norton grew up rooting for the Alabama Crimson Tide. So, how did Norton, a four-star defensive end and the state’s second-ranked prospect, end up pledging with Georgia?
It’s simple really, and it’s the same reason fellow Georgia defensive line commitments Tymon Mitchell (Franklin Road Academy) and Zion Logue (Lebanon) plan to sign letters of intent with the Bulldogs on Wednesday — the first day of the NCAA’s early signing period for football.
“It was the relationship that I formed with Coach Tray Scott,” said the 6-foot-6, 275-pound Norton. “That was the initial thing.”
Scott, in his second season as Georgia’s defensive line coach, played an integral role in all three of their recruitments. Mitchell, Norton and Logue each credited their energetic future position coach as one of the main factors behind their decisions.
“It was my relationship with Coach Tray Scott,” Logue added. “Ever since the first day he called me we got along so well. We just struck up a bond the first time we talked.
“He always kept it 100, as we say nowadays.”
Logue, who tallied 57 tackles and five sacks for the Blue Devils in 2018, is a four-star defensive end and the state’s 11th-ranked prospect according to the 247Sports Composite. The Region 4-6A defensive lineman of the year received offers from more than 20 FBS programs, including Alabama, Ole Miss, Oregon and Tennessee.
“At most schools, coaches have a certain recruiting area,” said Logue, who was No. 7 on this year’s Tennessean Dandy Dozen — a collection of the top Nashville area college football prospects. “But he told Coach (Kirby) Smart, I want to go get my guys, ‘No disrespect, but I want to go find the guys that I want in my system to play for me. I don’t want a receiver coach going to find a D-lineman.”
Norton, a Division II-AAA Mr. Football finalist in 2018 after winning the award as a junior, also held offers from several of the nation’s top programs, including Alabama, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Ohio State. He wasn’t on the market for very long, though.
“He committed early and has just never gotten wrapped up in the recruiting process because he felt like (Georgia) was the place he wanted to be,” Christian Brothers coach Thomas McDaniel said. “I think most of that was just the relationship with Coach Scott.”
Added Norton, “He’s a really young coach for where he is. Me, Zion and Tymon, the thing that caught all of our attention is that he gets to know us outside of football. We have a group chat with him and us three, and we’ll talk about anything. With us being teenager, we talk about things other than football.”
The subject does come up from time to time, though.
“Like during the season, if I would have a bad game, Coach Tray would watch it and he’d point out my mistakes and what I needed to work on,” Norton said. “He’d tell me I wasn’t meeting expectations, and I’d work on it.
“He was coaching me before he was even my coach.”
Georgia, which boasts the nation’s second-ranked recruiting class according to 247Sports, signed the state’s top-ranked offensive lineman a year ago in Knoxville Catholic tackle Cade Mays, who made the Coaches Freshman All-SEC team.