When Wade Norberg received the call about Auburn University, he thought it was a joke.
He was driving to San Diego when his coach called to say he needed to contact Auburn right away.
Auburn? Are you talking about the same Auburn that holds 11 conference titles, two national titles and has turned out three Heisman winners? How did they even hear about a left tackle from Santa Barbara City College?
None of that really matters though because, when Auburn called, the answer was “yes.” Norberg accepted the offer in a heartbeat and this fall will red shirt for the prestigious Division I Tigers at tight end.
Auburn wasn’t even on Norberg’s radar. He picked up his Associate of Arts degree at Santa Barbara City College in May and was thinking about transferring to College of Idaho or Fort Lewis College in Colorado.
The former South Tahoe tight end (2007-10) turned in an impressive two years while playing left tackle at Santa Barbara City College. He was one of six players who were unanimously selected to the first team All-American Pacific Conference.
A much-deserved honor, but nothing that filled Norberg with illusions about contacting the likes of Auburn. Little did he know, however, Santa Barbara head football coach Craig Moropoulos was planting the seeds that would lead to the Auburn opportunity.
An Auburn scout contacted coach Moropoulos back in October and asked if he had any prospects. Moropoulos sent him a list of all their sophomore prospects. In April, the scout followed up, saying he heard Moropoulos had a “hand-in-the-ground blocking tight end.” But the tight end the scout what thinking about had already signed at Portland State.
“We do have a ‘thin’ tackle who is athletic and was All State this season… Worth a look,” Moropoulos emailed back. “His name is Wade Norberg — 6-foot-6, 210 and is a fantastic young man. Work ethic and coachability are outstanding. I will attach his info.”
Norberg was just the guy they were looking for. His work ethic, speed, athleticism, blocking strength fit the mold of the open Auburn spot.
“Wade is such a great kid and such a perfect fit,” Moropoulos said. “He runs as well as any tight end that we’ve played against too. He’s an outstanding athlete. Plus he’s a first class person. Top notch, one of the best I’ve ever had.”
Norberg will likely red shirt his first year and put on some weight.
“I’ll just be wherever they need me,” Norberg said. “I just can’t wait to get out there, put pads on and get on the field.”