Anthony Norcia is arguably one of the greatest receivers and kick returners in Everett High School football history. He excelled on one of Everett’s greatest football teams, the 2017 edition that took home the Division 1 state title in John DiBiaso’s final season as head coach.
A two-time All-Scholastic selection, Norcia helped lead the Crimson Tide to an undefeated 11-0 record and a 35-10 victory over Xaverian at Gillette Stadium, playing alongside other superstars such as Isaiah Likely (Coastal Carolina), Mikey Sainristil (Michigan), Jason Maitre (Boston College) and Jake Willcox (Brown).
Norcia has completed a stellar career as a four-year starter, kick returner, and three-year long snapper for Merrimack College where he had 60 pass receptions for 600 yards and five touchdowns. His 2020 season was moved to the spring due to COVID-19 and Merrimack played just four games. A well-spoken, personable young man and an example that hard work pays off, Norcia will graduate from Merrimack in May with a degree in Sports Management.
The sure-handed 5-foot-10-inch, 185-pound receiver is now planning the next step in his collegiate football journey.
“I just entered the NCAA transfer portal Monday,” said Norcia. “I’ve had a good experience at Merrimack and I’m definitely looking forward to finding a new home and playing another year of football.”
UMass, UNH, Maine Programs are in the Mix
Norcia said he is in correspondence with several coaches about his potential destination for the 2022 football season.
“I’ve had conversations with UMass/Amherst, UNH, Maine, New Haven, Saint Anselm, Southern Connecticut, and Endicott,” related Norcia. “I’m just talking to a whole bunch of schools and figuring out my best opportunity before I make any decisions.”
UMass/Amherst has a new head coach, Donald Brown, and plays as an independent in the NCAA Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). Merrimack competes in the Northeast Conference and the NCAA Division 1 Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
“I’ve talked with a few of the UMass assistant coaches,” said Norcia.
An outstanding season in the fall would certainly boost Norcis’s prospects of playing professional football.
“My goal is to get my master’s degree first, and if I do have a breakout year, which I’m hoping I do – I’ve been waiting for that for a while – anything is possible,” said Norcia, who drew comparisons to slot receivers Wes Welker and Julian Edelman while at Merrimack.
Success on the Gridiron Began in Everett Pop Warner
Norcia moved from New Hampshire to Everett when he was 11 years old. His father, Anthony Norcia Sr., was originally from Everett and close friends with Dennis Willcox, who was coaching high school and Pop Warner football at the time.
Anthony Jr. joined the Everett Huskies Pop Warner program and continued in youth football when the Huskies and Eagles merged to become the current Crimson Tide Pop Warner organization headed by president Brian Dimond.
Anthony’s talent was noteworthy in youth football, and he entered the Everett High program as a freshman. In his sophomore season at Everett High, Norcia became a starter.
In the 2015 season, the Crimson Tide were the No. 8 seed in the Division 1 North Sectional, but they managed to upset No. 1 seed St. John’s Prep in the quarterfinals and No. 4 seed Peabody in the semifinals before losing to Central Catholic in the North sectional final.
The win over Peabody on the Tanners’ home field was memorable. Norcia had a huge, fourth-down reception to keep the drive going, before quarterback Jordan McAfee threw the winning touchdown pass to Theo Zidor with 14 seconds remaining in the game.
“Interestingly, I played against [Peabody’s] Doug Santos when he was at Assumption and Theo Zidor and JJ Collimon when they were at Central Connecticut,” recalled Norcia.
In the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Norcia led the Tide to back-to-back Super Bowl victories, defeating Xaverian in both state title games.
“I still keep in touch with my Everett teammates, Mikey, Jake, Jason, Isaiah – we all stay in close contact,” said Norcia. “I’m hoping for the best for Isaiah. He had a great career at Coastal and I think he has a really good shot of playing in the NFL.”
Grateful to Merrimack
Norcia said he had “a great four years” at Merrimack where he was a resident student.
“I had a great relationship with the coaches, and I met a lot of great people,” he said. “I’m definitely grateful for the academic and athletic opportunities I had at Merrimack. I’m working extremely hard right now looking for another opportunity and hopefully I can get something done.”
Said Merrimack head football coach Dan Curran, “Anthony Norcia is the definition of a true football player. He has contributed as a pass catcher, blocker and on all our special teams. He is one of the most competitive players I have ever coached, and his toughness is in the top one percentile. Anthony’s impact will have a lasting effect on Merrimack football.”
Knowing how Anthony Norcia Jr. has maximized his effort, exceeded expectations, and established himself as a team leader at every stop, one can expect to see Norcia catching passes and scoring touchdowns in another college football program this fall.