Josh Norman’s Coastal Carolina No. 24 will forever be a fixture at Brooks Stadium.
CCU made the star cornerback’s number the first in the football program to be honored on Saturday, unveiling a plaque of his number between the first and second quarters Saturday of CCU’s 38-17 win over Monmouth.
The plaque is displayed on the brick wall that lines the front of the bleachers in the corner behind the west side end zone, and Norman was there to accept the honor.
“It’s sweet. It’s awesome to come back and be shown love,” said Norman, whose Washington Redskins are on a bye this weekend. “It’s very respectful. I’m really taken back by it. I’m humbled by it. I thank everybody who had a hand in making it happen. It’s pretty surreal. I’m looking forward to doing bigger and better things. Coastal Carolina is one of my homes. It’s one of the places I’ve been. And coming back and seeing this happen is awesome.”
Norman played at CCU from 2008-11, was a two-time FCS All-American and played in a couple postseason college all-star games before being drafted by the Carolina Panthers. He was an All-Pro last year before signing with Washington in the offseason.
Norman said he was surprised to be the first Chanticleer to have his number honored in such a way.
“I didn’t expect it. I didn’t ask for it,” he said. “Me being the first guy to go up there is pretty big, man. I’ve seen a lot. Been through a lot. To have that there speaks volumes. It really does. It shows how much they really do care. I’m sure other people will be there, but they can’t say they’ve been the first. It’s pretty cool.”
Athletic director Matt Hogue said the number honoring was a project by the university’s Office of Philanthropy, and there will likely be more. Hogue hopes the upcoming stadium expansion project includes a place to display the numbers of honored players. “I think this is obviously a tradition we’re establishing going forward,” Hogue said. “We’d like to have a really special place to showcase and recognize Coastal Carolina’s best players.”
Despite being in just its 14th season, the CCU football program is quickly building an alumni legacy. Other candidates to have their numbers honored are running back Mike Tolbert, wide receiver Jerome Simpson, quarterback Tyler Thigpen and defensive back Quinton Teal, who have all played at least five years in the NFL; running back Lorenzo Taliaferro, a three-year member of the Baltimore Ravens; and linebacker Quinn Backus, the only three-time Big South Conference Defensive Player of the Year who finished his career 14th in FCS history in tackles with 414.
Norman visited the Chanticleers at their pregame meal and gave a short pep talk. “That really roused people up and stuff, and makes us realize that even at the small level we are right now, though we’re moving up, people can still make it and still make a name, so people are going to ball out as best they can,” linebacker Alex Scearce said.
BY ALAN BLONDIN