Target 2005: Cameron Sexton

LAURINBURG, N.C. – "Who knows?" That's the response both Scotland County's Cameron Sexton and his coach Mark Barnes give when asked why North Carolina has not yet offered – especially considering the Tar Heels have currently extended the courtesy to at least five other quarterbacks.

Sexton, 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, is a five-step drop back passer with blazing speed. At a combine two weeks ago, he recorded a time of 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

"It's funny to watch coaches time him," Barnes said. "They look at their watch as he goes by and it's almost like they're in disbelief.

"He can run – and that what makes him different from all the rest – but he's got great arm strength as well," said the Scots' skipper. "The thing most college coaches like about him when they see him on video, is that he can make all the throws. He throws the intermediate stuff well, he throws the deep stuff well and he throws the three-step stuff real well."

As a junior, Sexton threw for 1,742 yards and 17 touchdowns against only five interceptions. He also ran for five scores.

"The thing about Cameron…a lot of quarterbacks are going to have better stats than him, but there are a lot of reasons for that," Barnes said. "There are three games this year when he had 200 yards passing before halftime; and we rested him after that. He missed a game against a 0-10 team and our backup quarterback threw for 200 yards in one half. So, stats don't mean everything.

"He had surgery on his left shoulder during the offseason that has kept him from getting some things he wants to get done in the weight room.

"I told him after his sophomore year that mechanically, I didn't think he was ready to go to camps yet. He was productive for us, but we talked about first impressions were so important, so we didn't send him anywhere. So he just worked all summer at trying to improve."

Still, Sexton has offers from Virginia Tech, Syracuse, UTEP and Wake Forest; while garnering serious interest from many schools, including Miami, Maryland, Clemson and N.C. State.

According to Barnes, he gave a tape to an Arkansas coach last week, who turned around and flew to Scotland County on a private plane the very next day to administer an impromptu workout of Sexton.

So why are the UNC coaches apparently so indifferent about Sexton at this point? It seems strange when taking into consideration the consensus belief that the Johnathan Crompton train has all but left the Waynesville station for Knoxville.

"I want to know, too," Sexton told Inside Carolina from his school last Thursday. "It's disappointing to me, because I grew up a Tar Heel fan and I always wanted to play for Carolina, and for other schools to show interest…actually, all the other schools that are recruiting me have shown more interest. I don't understand, but there is nothing I can do about it."

One source said that the Sextons were turned off when UNC offensive coordinator Gary Tranquill had to be "re-introduced" to their son during their visit to the Spring Game in April.

But while Sexton's parents, and even Barnes – an outspoken UNC supporter – are seemingly ready to wash their hands of Carolina's recruiting effort of Sexton, Cameron is holding out hope and says he would still consider playing in Chapel Hill.

"Nothing is too far gone, but they definitely have not helped their cause any," Sexton said. "They had me up for the Spring Game and Coach [Gunter] Brewer was here one day. Outside of that, and some mail, that's it. I think Coach Bunting is going to stop by here, but other than that, I'm not sure."

Even former UNC coach Mack Brown would offer N.C.'s top talent, if for no other reason to maintain control of his home state.

But when it comes to distributing offers for quarterbacks, college coaches have to be much more restrictive.

"You don't get to offer but maybe one or two a year, and they need to be the guys that you want and the guys that fit your system," Barnes said. "The university can't make a mistake with that, and that is why they want to see you throw at camp. You've got to get in that situation, because that position is so unique."

Perhaps that is why UNC is considering Sexton as a "camp offer." But, will the Tar Heels ever get him to camp? That question remains unanswered.

"What they say is that they want to see him up at their camp," Barnes said. "They want to see him throw there, and then he would probably be a guy they would like to offer. Where his frustration is…why have they offered other quarterbacks in the state and not offered him.

"I've talked to Cameron a lot about this, and he's comfortable with this also; don't get caught up on who offers you and how good their program is," Barnes said. "Instead, you better find out who the offensive coordinator is and who the quarterbacks coach is and find out what their vision is – what their offense is going to be like – and does that fit you. There are a lot of good football programs that win a lot of games, but they don't have any quarterbacks in the NFL."


Senior writer Andy Britt is in his third year with Inside Carolina. His work has appeared in newspapers across the country such as The Raleigh News & Observer, The Chapel Hill News, The State (Columbia, S.C.), The Seattle Times, The Houston Chronicle and The Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. He can be reached at a.j.britt@mindspring.com.

Inside Carolina Top Stories