Sexton Makes the Most of New Opportunities
He kicked off the month in San Antonio, Texas, at the Valero Alamo Bowl, then traveled to Charleston, South Carolina, for the Medal of Honor Bowl last Saturday before heading to Louisville, Kentucky, where he's currently attending the Future Football Coaches Academy (FFCA) hosted by the NCAA at the annual American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Convention.
"I think I've stayed in a hotel bedroom for about 17-straight nights with one exception, I was home for one night," laughed Sexton over the phone yesterday afternoon. "I've been on planes all across the country. I've been pretty busy and well traveled over the past three weeks."
Selected as one of just 30 participants to attend the three-day convention, Sexton joined a group of fellow NCAA football players from around the nation who are all also interested in coaching. The convention offers the student-athletes exclusive academy workshops and sessions where they are given the opportunity to engage and learn from some of the best coaches in the business.
"There are probably 10,000 coaches, maybe more, from every level from high school to D1, and us 30 guys. We basically come listen to speakers, interact, network and get to know people and learn more about being a coach," explained Sexton. "The 30 of us start out the day in our room and we interact with select coaches that they bring in to come and talk. We talk with them and then they let us go and we get to be a part of the entire convention, so we can pop in and listen to the different speaking events whenever we want."
Sexton said he attended a session with Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema and Marshall head coach Doc Holliday. He said James Franklin, the head coach at Penn State, spoke to his group while Duke's head coach, David Cutcliffe, also spent time with the aspiring coaches.
A unique experience, Sexton had the opportunity to dive deeper into a profession he sees himself pursuing in the years to come.
"It's definitely beneficial, not only from a networking standpoint because it's been good to talk to and get to know some of the people in the industry, but also it's good to hear different perspectives from different people on different levels because every coach has a different story as to how they got to where they are now. It's cool to hear their advice," he said.
Sexton, a 2014 Second Team Academic All-American and Second Team All-Big 12 performer, is coming off of a senior year where he had 79 receptions for 1,059 yards and five touchdowns - his best year in purple.
He was selected with teammates Jake Waters and Ryan Mueller to compete in the Medal of Honor Bowl last Saturday, and though he was unable to play in the game, the week of training and interacting with players and professionals from around the nation was also a beneficial experience.
"I got a little dinged up early in the week of training, so I wasn't able to play, but the experience was great," said Sexton. "Charleston was a really cool city, I'd never been there before, and they took really good care of us. There were over 150 NFL scouts there most of the week, so we got to interact with them and do one-on-one interviews with them. We got to learn from different college coaches who have been to a lot of different places, and we got to play with some of the best talent in the country. It was a great week."
Overall, Sexton caught 129 career passes for 1,623 yards and six touchdowns for the Wildcats and capped his time at K-State by hauling in 10 passes for 104 yards in K-State's 40-35 loss to UCLA earlier this month.
Whether it's school, friendship or travel, the game of football has given Sexton opportunities he only dreamed of growing up in Abilene, Kansas, and now, he can't wait to see where the game takes him next.
While he said upon returning to Manhattan this week he will be spending the next few weeks training for Pro Day, he knows coaching is the path he wants to take in the future.
"Football has always been my passion," said Sexton. "It's always been the thing that I love the most in life. So to have the opportunity to have an impact on kids' lives and to be able to not only help them become better football players but better people and offer them a figure in their lives similar to the figures I've had in Coach Coleman and Coach Smith, to just to be able to be there for someone and impact kids year in and year out, that make for a special job to have."