South Carolina Football Player Profile: No. 40 LB Eric Norwood

Timmy Edwards-FerrelCorrespondent IAugust 20, 2009

COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 01:  Eric Norwood #40 of the South Carolina Gamecocks celebrates after making a defensive stop against the Tennessee Volunteers during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 1, 2008 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Before the football season begins (and through the first couple weeks of the season) I will write player profiles of some of the South Carolina Gamecock's most important players.

This profile is of senior linebacker Eric Norwood.

Norwood is a two-time first-team All-SEC selection, and is on the Nagurski Trophy watchlist. He could very well be an All-American this year, and is one of the many keys to South Carolina's success.

Norwood has performed well his entire career. In his freshman year, he was a first-team Freshman All-American and a first-team Freshman All-SEC. Two years ago he came up big in prime time, returning two fumbles for touchdowns as the No. 18 Gamecocks beat No. 8 Kentucky 38-23. Last year, he was first-team All-SEC and led the team with nine sacks.

This year, Norwood is the leader of a defense that lost multiple key players to the NFL Draft. With Jasper Brinkley, Captain Munnerlyn, and Emanuel Cook gone, Norwood will have to lead the team along with Chris Culliver, Darian Stewart, and Cliff Matthews.

Norwood is regarded as one of the best linebackers in the country, and creates a dominating presence with his 6'1", 252 pound frame. He is also an extremely versatile player, playing defensive end as recently as two seasons ago.

Norwood shows a great maturity for his age, and could look to break some records this year. He is already Carolina's all-time leader in tackles for a loss (43), and could break the all-time sacks record of 27 set by Andrew Provence (Norwood has 22). 

Norwood almost wasn't here this season, entering the NFL Draft following the bowl loss to Iowa, but withdrawing his name later. Steve Spurrier, the other players, and every single Carolina fan is glad to have him back, as he will lead the defense to another strong year.

I look forward to seeing No. 40 take down numerous opposing QB's this season.