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Jordan Norwood, Super Bowl Hero?

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Could Jordan Norwood be the next star of the Super Bowl to come out of nowhere? If there's one thing we know about Norwood by now, it's to never count him out.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Panthers 27, Broncos 23 and Super Bowl 50 will all come down to this, folks...fourth and seven from the Panthers 11 yard-line with just four seconds remaining on the clock, and Denver MUST get in the end zone...Manning takes the snap...has time...throws a pass right down the middle...AND A LEAPING CATCH IN THE BACK OF THE END ZONE BY JORDAN NORWOOD! TOUCHDOWN BRONCOS! BRONCOS WIN!!! WHAT A GAME FOR NORWOOD!

The above scenario seems extremely unlikely to play out come Sunday, but to this point, nearly everything that has happened during the course of Jordan Norwood's football career has completely defied expectations.

Norwood entered Penn State as an undersized walk-on in the midst of the The Dark Years, as Penn State had suffered losing records in three of the past four years. The team would finish 4-7 during his redshirt season in 2004. At the time, the mere thought of Norwood becoming a starter during his time at Penn State seemed highly unlikely. The idea that he would be a key contributor on multiple Big Ten Championship teams at Penn State was downright laughable.

That would all change in 2005. Paired with fellow redshirt freshman Deon Butler, and true freshmen Derrick Williams and Justin King, the group of young receivers would completely transform Penn State's moribund offense into one of the most dangerous in the nation. With Norwood catching everything that came his way, Penn State would go on to win the Big Ten and finish third in the national rankings following a thrilling victory against Florida State in the Orange Bowl.

Norwood would go on to a decorated career at Penn State, where he was a four-year starter and exited with another Big Ten Championship during his senior year in 2008. He would leave Penn State with his name all over the school's record books- third all-time in total receiving yards, fourth all-time in career receptions and seventh in touchdown receptions. Blessed with arguably the best set of hands in program history, Norwood was a coachable player who did everything asked of him. He ran the most precise routes that would leave even the best Big Ten cornerbacks in the dust, and always blocked, and blocked well, until the whistle on every play. Whenever someone besides Norwood made a big play from 2005 through 2008, it's a safe bet the play was extended by a downfield block from number 24.

As the NFL does not have a large market for 5'10'' receivers, Norwood would go undrafted and sign with the Cleveland Browns. A longshot to even make the Browns tepid roster, it didn't seem like Norwood was set for a long career in the pros. But in typical Norwood fashion, he is now set to be the Broncos starting punt returner and a regular at wide receiver in the Super Bowl, seven years after all 32 NFL teams passed him over (and over and over and over).

Norwood would bounce around for a few years from Cleveland, to Philadelphia, back to Cleveland and to Tampa Bay before landing in Denver to catch passes from Manning during the twilight of the legendary quarterback's career. Norwood survived the uncertainty of life in the NFL for an undrafted free agent, and even major injuries including a concussion and a torn ACL to make it to the pinnacle moment that anyone who ever puts on a football uniform dreams about- seeing the field and getting the opportunity to shine on Super Bowl Sunday.

Norwood has been a solid contributor for the Denver offense, hauling in 25 catches for 233 yards, and has been a huge special teams asset as a sure-handed and slippery punt returner. He may not be the most likely MVP candidate in a game that includes superstars Cam Newton, Emmanuel Sanders, Von Miller, and everyone's sentimental favorite for this year's Super Bowl, Manning. But history has taught us that anyone can shine in the biggest stage in sports. Based on the trajectory of Norwood's career, why can't he follow the same path as Larry Brown, Timmy Smith or David Tyree?

Norwood has obviously sliced through many obstacles throughout the entirety of his football career, and on Sunday many football fans will be hearing his name for the first time. But if he does the unexpected and becomes the latest largely unknown Super Bowl sensation, those who have been watching closely shouldn't be surprised at all.

Dream big, Jordan.