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Different Sport, Same Story

Stop me if you have heard this one before.

A player comes to UNC as a freshman in a particular sport, is thrown into the fire his freshman year and is pretty close to an abject failure at his assigned role.  This is pretty much the case going forward and during the time the player is despondent, thinks about transferring but ultimately hangs in there.  Then, out of the Carolina blue, the starter at his position hurts his ankle and once again he finds himself back in the fray much to the chagrin of fans everywhere.  But something odd happens, instead of flopping, he plays extremely well and in the short course of a few games completely redeems the previous years of underachievement.

This was the story of Quentin Thomas that culminated last season with his filling in for Ty Lawson at point guard and helping to keep the Heels on track to the Final Four.

After watching the Miami game his past Saturday, we could be watching the exact same thing unfold with Cam Sexton.

Earlier this year, North Carolina redshirt junior quarterback Cam Sexton found himself at a crossroads.

With starter T.J. Yates injured during spring practices, Sexton had an opportunity to impress the Tar Heels coaching staff and possibly resurrect a career that had seemingly been derailed.

When he failed to separate himself from redshirt freshman Mike Paulus, setting up another season in which he would be an afterthought at the position, it looked as if he had added another frustrating chapter to a career that had been defined by bad luck, bad timing and missed opportunities.

``I distinctly remember telling my dad after leaving one day, that I felt like my dreams were falling apart around me,'' Sexton said. ``This is what I've always done and what I've always dreamed of doing, playing football. I started questioning whether this is what I should do, what I was meant to do.''

During the final moments of Saturday's victory at Miami, Sexton, who got under center after an injury to Yates and a shaky showing from Paulus, found himself in far different place. He had engineered the Tar Heels' stirring comeback, taken hold of the starting job and reversed many opinions.``I just feel like that point, I felt like I had arrived at what I'd dreamed about,'' Sexton said. ``I had kind of fought for it, so at that moment, it was a little bit of a reward for all the hard work.''

Sexton will get the start in Saturday night's home date with Connecticut but coach Butch Davis said Paulus, who started against Miami, will also have playing time.

But for Sexton, the fact that he knows he'll get another chance to be on the field is enough.

``I just hope that somehow maybe my story can inspire at least somebody,'' Sexton said. ``I've been hurt, I've been benched. I've been promoted, demoted, I've been the gamut. ... You just got to keep plugging, keep plugging. Look what happened to me.''

Certainly we do not want to get ahead of ourselves.  It was only one game, though it came against an opponent that gave the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Tim Tebow fits a few weeks prior.  Miami's defense was no slouch and Sexton was constantly pressured in the pocket which means his performance was definitely legit in every way.  The next step in the process is consistency and answering the "Can he do it again?" question everyone is thinking but really not asking.

We asked the same thing about Quentin Thomas and the answer was beyond our wildest dreams.  May the same be true of Cam Sexton come Saturday.