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Jeff Sentell/Dawgnation
4-star Tennessee DE Bill Norton is definitley a name to know for UGA recruiting fans going forward.

Georgia leads for giant 4-star Tennessee DE Bill Norton

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The budget for Tuesday calls for an introduction to giant Tennessee junior defensive lineman Bill Norton. Norton had UGA as his top school going into his visit for the South Carolina game last week for two very specific reasons.

Bill Norton stands about 6-foot-6. He weighs right at 270 pounds. Give or take two dozen chicken wings. Maybe.

His grandfather, Buddy Soefker, played for LSU and was drafted in 1963 by the Los Angeles Rams. He played two years at linebacker in the NFL.

Norton has a shaggy head of hair because his Christian Brothers (Memphis, Tenn.) team is on a winning streak. The barber’s chair looks like a chop block. He will be dodging that for now. Don’t mess with a win streak or with him on NBA2K18 when he has the Minnesota Timberwolves or New Orleans Pelicans as his team.

The Memphis resident wears a shirt with the line Let’s Eat under his pads for every game. His mom calls him William; everyone else knows him as Bill.

Bill Norton-UGA recruiting
Four-star defensive end Bill Norton continues to describe UGA as his top school. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Norton rates on the 247Sports composite as the nation’s No. 24 strongside defensive end for 2019 and as the No. 274 player overall.

It seems like a good time for DawgNation to get to know him.

Norton has Georgia and Ohio State at the top of a list of 10 reported offers by 247Sports.

He camped at UGA this summer and said he really enjoyed himself on that visit. It has basically been his top school since for two very specific reasons.

The first of those is a position fit.

“When you see me you would think I’m an offensive tackle,” Norton said. “Because of this build [and the size], I have at my age. But I think I’m a defensive lineman. … My mentality is to play the defensive line. I think I am a defensive end.”

So does Georgia defensive line coach Tray Scott. That one sentence meshes those two big reasons why the Bulldogs currently lead for Norton.

“Coach Tray thinks I am a hybrid-type of defensive lineman,” Norton said.

He wonders if he will be a 3-technique player if he keeps growing and putting on the pounds. He realizes how big he already is a high school junior. His base front at Christian Brothers is an even front, but he does operate out of both looks at times.

When he does, he shows why he should not be seen as an offensive tackle.

“It is to block or be blocked for me,” Norton said. “It is about hurting people. I’ve never been a huge fan of offense. I’ve always liked hitting people. I like suplexing people.”

Norton also wears backward 7s with his eye black to signify his No. 77 out on the field.

Bill Norton’s relationship with Tray Scott

Tray Scott is silently doing his own brand of work on the recruiting trail. The seeds are below the ground.

See Bill Norton.

The first-year defensive line coach is fiery. Do fans ever notice how he fires up the team during timeouts with his energy? Norton knows all about that.

Bill Norton-UGA recruiting
Bill Norton has made three visits to UGA since this summer. He has enjoyed every one, including trips to the Mississippi State and South Carolina games. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

“I went to camp this summer and Coach Tray made sure to take care of us and showed us around everywhere,” Norton said. “I worked well one-on-one with him at the camp. There was a good vibe he was giving off at the camp, and it was a good vibe with all of the coaches. I loved all of the coaches. It just felt very welcoming. Now I know it is supposed to feel welcoming, but it was more than that.

“It felt like home there for me when I first went there and it has been the same way on my last two visits when I have been there for games.”

There is a clear relationship forming.

“I went to the Mississippi State game earlier this year and the South Carolina game just days ago, and I think the coaches are now even more friendly,” Norton said. “They are still welcoming and now it is working to the time when I want to decide and stuff. I’m not going to say where I am going yet but Georgia is definitely at the top due to Coach Tray and his welcoming vibes, you might say.

“He’ll talk to me about not just about football. He will talk to me about his home life and his baby he just had, and I will talk to him about my life.”

When they discuss his recruiting process, there is no pressure. Norton likes that.

“He’s telling me to be patient with it,” Norton said. “Don’t rush it. He tells me that this is one of the biggest decisions that I will ever make. He is really very caring about my future and not just the future of the program.”

How would he describe Scott to another recruit? That question prompted an unexpected approval rating.

“He is the prime reason why Georgia is at the top for me,” Norton said.

Another connection for Bill Norton

Norton was “down with Georgia” even before the team’s unbeaten start to 2017. That has only helped matters.

There is also a local connection. Norton’s strength coach at Christian Brothers knows Scott well.

Bill Norton-UGA recruiting
Bill Norton, a 6-foot-6 defensive lineman from Tennessee, ranks as the nation’s No. 274 prospect for 2019. He already has a Georgia offer and camped in Athens this summer. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

“When I first talked to him, he just seemed like a chill dude,” Norton said. “We talked about wings and stuff. He was asking me about wing places in Memphis. But when I see him at game time, it is crazy. He is crazy but he is a great coach, though.”

Norton is in touch with Scott every week. He will likely have made his college commitment by this time next season.

That’s the timeline Norton feels comfortable with right now. It could be even sooner.

“Ohio State is starting to question whether they see me as an offensive tackle or a defensive lineman right now,” Norton said. “That’s really not the greatest thing I like to hear when I am talking to schools. Ohio State is still a great school. The other options besides Georgia would be Alabama or Penn State only because they are solely looking at me for the defensive line. All of the other schools are not really sure what I am going to be.”

He’s sure. Remember that suplex stuff?

Big news for a Tuesday

Georgia might now have a chance to make an even more immediate impact with one of the finest players from The Volunteer State.

Cade Mays, a 5-star offensive lineman, announced his decision to de-commit from Tennessee on Tuesday morning. Mays, a Tennessee legacy, just took unofficial visits to Clemson and Georgia in back-to-back weeks.

Mays rates as the nation’s No. 15 prospect for 2018.

Cade Mays-UGA recruiting
Five-star Cade Mays appears to be enjoying his unofficial visit last Saturday in Athens for the South Carolina game. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

His father played for former coach Phillip Fulmer and was even a team captain in Knoxville. The younger Mays was the top commit for Tennessee in the 2018 recruiting class.

The thinking now is that he may very well wind up at Clemson or Georgia.

Mays has a great relationship with major UGA target Jamaree Salyer and looked to have enjoyed himself last weekend on his unofficial visit.

As it stands now, Mays will give UGA his last official visit prior to making his decision during the early signing period.

I would not expect Mays to grant many interviews as he goes about his new journey to find the best fit for his college future going forward.

Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed faster than Georgia All-America candidate Roquan Smith can find the football after the snap.


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