Hometown: Garden City, NY
High School: Garden City
2012 Stats: Ryan handled kickoff duties in all 13 games last season. He averaged 61.2 yards per kick, and had 29 touchbacks, which ranked 35th in all of the FBS.
2013 Projections: Keep doing what you're doing, Ryan! Special teams is not a forte for this team, so if we can have a decent kicker that can tally a fair amount of touchbacks, I'm totally on board. Maybe he'll even have more touchbacks this year than he had last year. A fan can dream...
How'd He Get Here?: Norton was a Class A First Team selection in New York State in 2011, and was also All-Long Island. Even in high school, he was much better at kickoffs than field goals, so it makes sense why SU plugged him into this role. He was courted by Rice and Richmond as well as Syracuse, but former assistant head coach John Anselmo sealed the deal for the Orange.
Money Quote: Anselmo was awful smitten with Norton even before last season started:
"He’s shown in practice that he can get (the ball) three to four to five yards deep in the end zone – with good hang time. If he doesn’t get it into the end zone, he’s got good hang time, around a 4.0 (seconds) to the goal line. Our kickoff team has been getting down almost to the 25-yard line by the time the ball gets to the goal line. We’re built with speed on the kickoff team."
Links of Wonder: Ryan got a great photo with a young SU fan at Fort Drum. There's a letter from his mother as well, thanking the team for cheering up her son, who's having a tough time dealing with his dad having been deployed to Afghanistan back in January.
What Does Shafer Think: You wouldn't think Scott Shafer had strong opinions on the kickers, but apparently he really likes Norton. While chatting special teams with Syracuse.com, it looks like Ryan is giving Das Boot a run for his money to start, too:
"We’ve got good competition. Ross has won some games for us, and he’s been working hard. But it’s nice to see Norton come along, too. We’ve really tried to give him a shot at getting more reps out there."
Interesting Nugget O'Interest: Clemson also has a Ryan Norton on their team, though he's much bigger... should create some fun confusion for when the two orange-clad teams play in the Carrier Dome this season.
Let Us Get a Good Look Atchya: Ryan's got quite the boot as you'll notice from his high school video. Is that Comic Sans though, buddy?