Norwood begins journey with Tar Heels

Jani Norwood (Courtesy photo)

RAMSEUR – Jani Norwood of Eastern Randolph officially became a member of the signing class for the North Carolina football team this week.

The senior lineman was a four-year starter on the offensive line. This year, he was named the Piedmont Athletic Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year for his work on the defensive front for the Wildcats, who won their third consecutive conference championship.

Twenty of North Carolina’s 27 signees, including Norwood, are listed as early enrollees and another comes as a junior college transfer. That explains why Norwood isn’t a member of Eastern Randolph’s boys’ basketball team and he also won’t be on the baseball or track and field teams in the spring.

Norwood was a key member as a reserve post player on the Wildcats’ Class 1-A state runner-up basketball team last March.

Recruiting rankings listed Norwood among the top 20 players in North Carolina in the current senior class. According to statistics provided upon his signing, he recoded 5½ pancake blocks per game as a junior in 2022 for Eastern Randolph.

North Carolina’s recruiting class covered all position groups and is split almost evenly by sides of the ball with 14 members playing defense, 12 on offense and one specialist. The group played its senior seasons in seven different states including eight players from North Carolina, eight from Georgia, five from Florida, three from Tennessee and one each from Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia.

Other North Carolinians to sign with the Tar Heels were defensive back Khalil Conley of Christ School, receiver Javarius Green of Shelby Crest, offensive lineman Desmond Jackson of West Forsyth, receiver Jordan Shipp of Providence Day School, linebacker/defensive end Curtis Simpson of Kings Mountain, receiver Alex Taylor of Greensboro Grimsley and defensive back Malcolm Ziglar of Fuquay-Varina.

By Bob Sutton