A Selfless Leader
With a win against Columbia University on Saturday, November 12th, Cornell football clinched its fourth win of the season, a three-win increase from the previous two years and a new career-high for fourth-year Head Coach David Archer. However, these accomplishments did not come easy, as the Big Red was forced to play the entire fall without star linebacker and defensive captain Miles Norris. Norris, who ruptured his achilles during the first practice of the season, knows that, although he never joined a huddle or called an audible in 2016, he still fulfilled his duties as captain and helped the team succeed.
A two-time all-state linebacker from the Gilman School in Baltimore, Norris received a plethora of offers to play college football, but chose to commit to Cornell over schools such as Navy and Princeton because he felt as if Cornell offered the best all-around product.
“They had the best program, people, and education,” Norris remarked.
His class marks the first group to spend all four years under Archer. Norris stated that his Head Coach instilled invaluable lessons and visions within each player, ultimately leading the 2016 team to its most successful season yet.
As an underclassman, Norris spent most of his freshman year on special teams, but really began to make an impact during his sophomore season, even leading the Big Red in tackles. As a sophomore, he began to understand what Cornell football was really about and felt as if the defensive captains instilled the importance of the team in each player, allowing them to share a common vision — winning. The ideals instilled within him are what allowed Norris to blossom into the player he is today.
Named a co-captain his junior year, he has always looked to be a selfless leader that wants to help the coaching staff spread its vision throughout the team.
“I wanted to be the man that led,” Norris stated. “I got to know people who I never would have talked to, it was definitely a humbling experience. It taught me to value the game of football.”
To Norris, games aren’t won on the field, but rather won in the offseason and in preparation for Saturday.
“I saw more hunger on the team this year in the weight room and in practice,” Norris commented.
Additionally, he feels that the Cornell football program is just beginning to hit its stride, as he sees not only talent, but this “hunger” in the younger classes.
Being the selfless leader that he is, Norris claims that his happiest and proudest moment of his career was the team’s come-from-behind victory against then ranked Colgate in Hamilton this year, a game for which he was still sidelined due to injury. Cornell trailed by 19 at half, but a late touchdown pass from Dalton Banks to Collin Shaw capped off the improbable victory.
“Although I couldn’t play, just seeing the happiness of my teammates made it a great moment,” Norris explained.
While he is on track to graduate this spring, Norris is strongly considering returning to Cornell for a fifth year, which, because of his season-ending injury, is permitted by the Ivy League.
“One thing I want to say is that playing Cornell football is a privilege,” Norris described.
Outside of football, he’s proudly enrolled in Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration and has focused on finance in the past two summers. A return for a fifth year will certainly help Cornell’s quest for its first Ivy League title since 1990.