Once Michigan was able to visit prospects following the Dead Period in mid-January, tight end and special teams coach Dan Ferrigno began a torrid pace of in-school visits on the West coast. One California school that consistently warrants attention from the Wolverines is Junipero Serra and the Cavaliers have another talented group of junior prospects on deck.
Coach Ferrigno stopped at Junipero Serra on January 22 to check in on athlete Stanley Norman as well as defensive tackle Rasheem Green and inside linebacker John Houston. Out of the talented bunch, Norman may possess the most upside as the dynamic athlete has shown the ability to excel on both sides of the football. Norman is currently competing with 7-on-7 squad Team 19 and has received high marks so far. Norman has been on a tear since his junior season and looks to continue the momentum he has built thus far.
"My junior season was pretty good," said Norman. "I was All-State, All-CIS and Offensive MVP, so I think I had a good season. If you understood where I was the last couple years, coming into my sophomore year no one knew who I was. Going into sophomore year I was playing corner and people would try to test me, so I shut down everyone's best player. Then I would turn around on offense, but only after the first five games because they didn't want a sophomore starting both ways. Then they saw I had to be used on offense too, then it boosted up."
After beginning his career in the slot, Norman expressed an interest in moving outside before his junior season. While Stanley experienced high levels of success in the slot, he found teams relying on double team coverage to defend against his quickness. In order to circumvent that, Norman moved outside to open up the field.
"People would try to put their corners on islands and it wouldn't work out," said Norman. "Then they would double team me and it still wouldn't work out. The field is so big that they can't do anything about it. Playing outside receiver expands my routes and the possibilities to get the ball in my hands."
While Norman's ability to break press coverage and sprint into the open field are apparent, the consensus four-star's defense is just as polished. It is not often that a receiver breaks free of Norman's coverage, but in that event he still displays great closing speed to minimize damage. This has become an important part of Norman's game and he wishes to continue his two-way versatility at the next level.
"Wherever I go to college I want to play both ways," said Norman. "Whoever will give me the opportunity, even if it's not even on both sides, I feel like I can make a difference on both sides of the field. Nobody would notice my defensive game because the guy I was guarding wouldn't do much. The quarterback wouldn't have the chance to look to my side so it didn't happen. If they tried to throw on me, the quarterback overthrew the receiver every time so it wouldn't be near me. So either way, if someone didn't know who I was, just know that I could shut down a teams best player on defense, then turn around and have myself a day on offense."
Since the potential to allow Norman to play both ways is something many colleges are considering, interest in the Junipero Serra blue chip recruit has boomed as of late. Norman mentioned what components will factor into his decision on a future collegiate destination
"I'm open to anywhere that has the best option for me," said Norman. "If I have to go all the way across the country to find a powerhouse school that will use me both ways, that's what I'm going to do. That's how I'm going to narrow it down by what schools will let me play both ways first. Next, I want to go somewhere I can play as a true freshman and three I want to know if anything happens, they will always be there. I want to meet my full potential and make it to the league."
Based on that criteria, Norman has a few schools in mind that stand out with an emphasis on the programs that return his interest.
"Right now, Oklahoma, Florida State. USC, UCLA, Arizona State and those stick out to me the most," said Norman. "Pretty much I'm going after the ones that really mess with me and remember me. I like Cal too though. I like their coaching staff."
Even though Michigan was not a school that is Norman hears from the most, it is a program that he has a great deal of interest in. Norman has built a close relationship with coach Ferrigno over the past year, which plays an important role in generating Stanley's interest in the Wolverines.
"Lately I saw coach Ferrigno at my school and I saw him three times in the last year," said Norman. "I like coach Ferrigno a lot and he always has a good vibe. I love coach Ferrigno. I have love for coach Ferrigno because he shows love every time he sees me.He stopped by and it was good seeing him. He was happy to see me and showed a lot of love. I think his biggest worry is about my weight, but to me I think that's the wrong thing to focus on. It could be an excuse for why I haven't been offered yet, but I don't know."
After the numerous visits Ferrigno has made to Junipero Serra, it is clear that Norman is ready to progress their relationship further. If the Wolverines were to offer, Norman would then have to further explore what Michigan can present him with. Norman can't quite say that an offer would be unexpected, though, as he has received a few impromptu scholarship offers in the past.
"I don't know because when I was offered by Oklahoma, I had no idea I was that close to an offer," said Norman. "Then he told me how much he liked how I played and he surprised me with an offer. It wouldn't say it's about time for a [Michigan] offer, but I think I have showed enough interest to deserve an offer. I went on an unofficial and I sent my film to coach Ferrigno and I've done things for them to offer. I can say that. Hopefully it's sooner than later because recruitment has been picking up for me lately. I've been speaking to people from Notre Dame too."
Last June, Norman was a participant in the Sound Mind Sound Body camp and took that opportunity to unofficially visit Michigan's campus. Norman is looking to attend the SMSB camp once again and is likely to visit Michigan once more. Stanley enjoyed his first trip to Michigan and would look forward to another.
"I never really got to hang out with anyone on the coaching staff, but I liked how coach Ferrigno took care of me when I went out there," said Norman. "We went to see the stadium and I loved the facilities out there in Michigan. They took me in the middle of the Big House, so it was cool. I liked the vibe I got from coach Ferrigno, so I liked being out there. I didn't have any problem with the weather."
If Norman is to receiver an offer sooner rather than later, he can't quite say Michigan would be high on his list, but he would be compelled to further explore his options with the Wolverines.
"I don't know they would be pretty high if I was offered because Ferrigno wouldn't be the only one coaching me," said Norman. "I'd have to speak to other coaches, but if they said they really want me to go out and play for them maybe they will speak with me more and have more communication. I haven't talked to coach Ferrigno since he's been gone."
Michigan has offered eight cornerbacks in the 2015 class so far and has been even more selective in handing out wide receiver offers (seven). With George Campbell (East Lake/FL) trending towards southern schools, Michigan may be in the best shape with in-state athlete Brian Cole (Saginaw Heritage/MI) who was offered mainly at wide receiver. Saguaro Higth star Christian Kirk is tentatively planning to visit Michigan during a Midwest swing, but a visit date has not been locked up as of yet.
If the Wolverines do look to offer additional prospects at either the wide receiver or cornerback positions, Stanley Norman is a name that should be in consideration. He has the physical tools to contribute on either side of the football and the sills to do so early in his collegiate career. It would be in the Wolverines' favor to act quickly as Norman is receiving attention from across the country and could explode with a dominant camp season for Team 19.
Here are Stanley Norman's junior highlights at Culver City High School: