A Little Home Cookin': Tight End Nick Sexton
Nov. 7, 2007
When students graduate high school and are looking toward moving on to college, most are eager to get away from parents and family, be on their own and make their own decisions. But no matter how far away from home they go, they almost always look forward to returning home to see friends and family whenever possible. They also look forward to returning home to get a home-cooked meal, something that has probably not become a part of their routine at college.
But when it comes to Indiana tight end Nick Sexton, he doesn't have to go very far to get a few home-cooked meals.
"It's been unbelievable," the 6-foot-5 tight end says of going to college in his hometown, "especially going home for home-cooked meals and stuff like that. I take advantage of that quite a bit. Just having family around to support you and help you out every now and then has been great."
And the Bloomington native doesn't have to travel very far to meet up with high school friends either.
"A lot of people I went to high school with still live in the area," Sexton said. "Actually, one of my roommates went to high school with me and is a huge IU football fan, so I room with him. All my close friends I grew up with, like (former IU men's basketball player and Bloomington North classmate) Errek Suhr, live around here still, so I can still hang out with them."
So with all his friends and family in the Bloomington area, would Sexton decide to get away from it all and go to a college or university a little farther away from home to try things out on his own like so many other kids his age?
"If I didn't get a scholarship (at Indiana), I probably would have walked on here," he said. "I've always come to games and all that and I love the atmosphere around the campus and the city."
At North, Sexton was a wide receiver and was used to getting the ball thrown to him on a regular basis. But when he got to IU, he was moved to tight end and his role changed immediately, because the tight end in the offense was primarily used an extra blocker on the offensive line. But that doesn't mean he has completely given up hope of catching a pass every now and then.
"Who doesn't like catching the ball?" Sexton admits. "But I've accepted my role. Back in 2005, I had two touchdowns so that was pretty exciting to get back in the end zone. Of course you want to receive the ball, but when you're on the field, what does it matter?" It is that kind of attitude that has brought this 2007 team on the brink of becoming bowl eligible and going to a bowl game for the first time since 1993. For Sexton, it would be extra special to be a member of the team that went to a bowl game and got people in Bloomington and Indiana football fans excited again.
"It would mean a lot to get to a bowl game," Sexton said. "It's been our goal since I've been here and it's everyone's goal. Just to be the team that turned it around, having everyone look up to you for turning it around."
The Hoosiers opened the season winning five of their first six games to get on the brink of bowl eligibility. Three consecutive losses may have put a damper on things from an outsider's perspective, but Sexton contends that the team has remained positive and looking forward to the reward at the end of the season.
"We lost a couple lately but the energy is definitely different this year than it has been my past four years. Coach (Terry) Hoeppner really got us started but I think it's continuing on here with coach (Bill) Lynch and he's having a great influence on everyone's attitude. Everyone is really excited we are back on the winning track."
Sexton was raised in Bloomington, so he is no stranger to the recent history with the Hoosier football program and is excited to be a part of returning the program to prominence.
"I remember a little bit of when (Bill) Mallory was the head coach here," Sexton recalls. "It was a pretty neat environment because coach Mallory always had those guys pumped up. And I remember watching Antwaan Randel El play because he was very exciting."
After redshirting his first year on campus, he appeared in seven games in 2004 with most of them coming on the special teams unit. His sophomore year he caught two one-yard touchdown passes before returning to special teams duties a year ago. Despite not playing a prominent role on the field, Sexton knows he can leave his mark on Indiana football by advancing to a bowl game.
"It's been a while since we went (to a bowl game), so it would be awesome to be a part of that," Sexton said.
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