MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Two former Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, Mike Tolbert and Josh Norman, are headed to the super bowl as Carolina Panthers.
While Coastal Carolina University's Athletic Director, Matt Hogue says it’s hard to predict which players will succeed in the NFL, he says by the time these guys hit their senior year, he had a feeling their careers were far from over.
“Mike Tolbert was one of the best running backs we had. I can remember one game against VMI in 2007, he returned a kickoff for a touchdown that changed the game and helped us win. So he was a versatile player and we definitely knew he had the ability to play at the next level,” Hogue recalled.
Another player Hogue saw gain a lot of traction senior year, Josh Norman.
“Josh in his senior year, he had such a dynamic year. Similar to the season with the panthers. A lot of interceptions, a lot of big plays, game changing plays and you could also see the flamboyance start to develop in his senior year as well,” Hogue said.
It didn't take Hogue long at all to think of an example of that. To this day he remembers a play from more than six years ago.
“He had a three interception game, as he intercepted his third pass, he was actually putting the number three up in the air as he was coming to the ground being tackled. So that showed you right there the presence that he had. He already knew how many interceptions he had, that he was getting his third one, before the play was even over and the whistle had blown,” he remembered.
Hogue says with both Norman and Tolbert, what people see on the field now with the Carolina Panthers, was already there when they played for CCU. Hogue says with the two not only making it to the NFL, but also to the super bowl, speaks volumes for the university.
“It's really a tremendous achievement for the school and we take a lot of pride in it, and we wish them well and we hope they win,” he added.