Senior wide receiver Curry Sexton is proving perseverance and intelligence can pay off in college athletics. After coming to K-State in 2011, he finally finds himself getting included in the game plan more each week.
“My physical limitations aren’t going to change,” Sexton said. “I’m not going to grow, I’m not going to get any faster, I’m not going to be able to jump any higher. But being able to run good routes, find soft spots in the zones and just being smart on the field is the way I’ve been able to have a decent career.”
Sexton’s journey began in Abilene, Kansas where his hard work earned him a spot on the field in his first year of high school football. His high school coach, Jeff Geist, said his intelligence was immediately evident when he walked in the door freshman year.
Sexton proved just how smart he is on the field to his coach in a junior varsity game. It was his freshman year and Abilene was trying to milk the clock to earn a victory over Clay Center.
“Curry said ‘Coach, they know we’re just trying to run the clock out, let me take it around the end, no one will be there,'” Geist said. “He just saw that and he knew it. Then he went 90 yards for a touchdown and put the game away. He saw the alignments, he knew where to lineup, and it was just kind of fun to see that.”
Sexton continued to play well throughout his high school career and earned all-state honors as a cornerback. He also helped lead Abilene to two league championships.
As his time in high school began to wind down, Sexton faced a crucial life decision. He had the opportunity to pursue a degree from Harvard University. He also had the chance to go to K-State and play football.
“That’s one of those tough decisions to walk away from,” Geist said. “But the kid had a dream, and that dream was K-State. I knew no matter where he’d go, he was going to get a great education because he was going to put the time and effort in for it to make it happen for him.”
Sexton has made the most of his academic endeavors in Manhattan; he is a three-time first team academic All-Big 12 member after all. Playing a collegiate sport and doing well in the classroom is a tough task, but Sexton gets it done.
“Being in this program, you’re really taught time management.” Sexton said. “Coach Snyder, at the start of every semester, gives us a sheet that lists the hours of the day from 6 a.m. to 10 at night. He tells us, ‘Fill it out, what are you going to do with this hour? Every hour, what are you doing?’ I think that allows me to understand that when I get done with practice, I can’t go home and lay on the couch. I have to go home and I have to do my homework.”
Sexton has learned a lot in his time at K-State. He gets the unique opportunity to impart wisdom into his younger brother, Collin, who is a sophomore wide receiver for the Wildcats.
Collin, like his brother, was very successful in high school at Abilene. He earned all-state honors in his junior and senior years and broke six school receiving records before graduation.
“It’s awesome,” Curry said. “It’s fun to watch him play. I probably get more excited when he makes a tackle than he does. It’s been fun to be out there on the field with him. I know my parents enjoy the heck out of it.”
The older Sexton’s play so far this season has been something that all K-State fans can enjoy, not just his parents. His success in college has not come easy, though.
In his freshman and sophomore season, he played in a total of 22 games, but saw limited action. During this time, Curry accumulated just 11 receptions for 117 yards and one touchdown.
Curry went through a two-year stretch at K-State without scoring a touchdown. Before scoring twice against Texas Tech this season, his last touchdown catch was on Sept. 8, 2012 when the Wildcats played Miami. In fact, in that one game against Texas Tech, Curry had more yards and touchdowns than he did through his first two years combined.
The newfound production from Curry is not something that comes as a surprise to senior quarterback Jake Waters, who said at Big 12 Media Days that he expected to look to Curry more often this season when second team all-American Tyler Lockett is covered.
Curry is on track to blow through his previous season bests. Through five games, he has 28 receptions for 335 yards and two touchdowns. In 13 games last season, he had 39 receptions for 446 yards and no touchdowns.
“People talk about his progress, but he’s been a good player since I can remember,” Snyder said. “Sometimes you get your opportunities, sometimes you don’t. There’s just a couple ballgames that he got more opportunities than otherwise.”