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August 6, 2012

Norwood looking to lead

TUSCALOOSA | Kevin Norwood finds himself in a unique position as the University of Alabama continues through its 2012 fall camp.

On one hand, the junior wide receiver from D'Iberville, Miss., is competing to become a starter for the first time in his UA career. On the other, he also happens to have more on-field experience than all but one of the team's nine scholarship receivers.

That, as much as anything, illustrates just how young the Crimson Tide is at the position. Norwood, for his part, is looking to provide leadership for the unit along with Kenny Bell, the team's most experienced receiver.

"Me and Kenny have been looking forward to this," Norwood said. "We've waited, basically, three or four seasons now to be leaders."

The taste Norwood last left with Alabama fans was a good one, making four catches for 78 yards in the BCS title game in New Orleans last January. It was the ideal time for the most productive game of his career, an opportunity derived from a hamstring injury to senior Marquis Maze.

"I'm seeing great things (from Norwood). As you saw in the championship game, he can be one of those guys that could be a great wide receiver at Alabama," said cornerback Dee Milliner.

Norwood said he also has added a few pounds of muscle. Now listed, at 6-2, 195 pounds, he is among UA's biggest options at the position. Milliner said it's not his size that makes him difficult to cover, however.

"(It's) his route running, and he's got great hands. You probably underestimate him when he lines up in front of you, but once he gets going, he's got great routes," Milliner said. "When the ball comes, he goes up and gets it or goes down and gets it. He's just got great hands."

Norwood said the receiving corps is a deep and talented group despite its lack of collective experience, and believes quarterback AJ McCarron will find a wide range of targets this fall.

"We all can contribute, really. We're all practicing hard right now," Norwood said. "We're just trying to learn, get back into the groove of everything and learn everything right now."

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