Lance Leggett responded as the ACC Champion in the 400-hurdles and a second place finish in the 110-hurdles. The feeling of being successful again was something Leggett needed.
Last year, Leggett endured a tough season finishing with 15 catches and 204 yards receiving.
In the '05 opener at Florida State, Leggett dropped a 'deep in' route that he felt he would have scored on if he caught that pass.
"I didn't let it go," said Leggett after the drop. "I should have let it go and moved on to the next play, but I didn't. You have to be strong and I wasn't mentally strong."
Leggett's freshman year consisted of multiple big plays and averaged over 20 yards per catch. For the season, he had 17 receptions for 349 yards and four touchdowns.
He had endured the ups and downs of a collegiate athlete in just a short amount of time.
"My freshman year--it's crazy because everyone talked about me," he said. "Then I had a bad sophomore year and everyone said, 'oh Lance, he's sorry and he really ain't living up to the hype.'
"You just have to block it out because if you listen to it too much, it will mess you up. Now I am used to it."
As a prep standout and a big-time recruit, Leggett had never experienced a low in his playing career. He didn't know how to handle adversity on the field. Everything came so easy for the tall, fast receiver.
But he had to adjust. Former UM receiver Lamar Thomas has helped Leggett in the off-season and prepare him for this upcoming year.
While Thomas and other people were great influences, it was his spring performance in track that has got his confidence back at a high level heading into the season.
Leggett and the 'Canes begin their season on Sept. 4 against Florida State.
When asked if he was nervous for the game, he responded, "I ain't nervous. This is my third year here. My freshman year I got a little playing time. Last year was an off-year, but this year I am ready."
The offense will feature more of an attacking style under Rich Olson this season, something Leggett is excited about.
"I've adapted to it real well, he made it simple," said Leggett, on the new offense. "You don't have to think that much. It's easy. This offense is built to make big plays."
As a starting receiver heading into the season and concerns with depth at the position, it would only be natural for Leggett to feel pressure heading into the season.
"I don't feel any pressure," Leggett said. "There isn't any pressure on me because I am a veteran and I just have to step up. I had a bad year last year so I know what I have to go out and do."
"Right now I am so focused," he added. "I don't really listen to the outside stuff. Like one day someone came up to me and said they heard I had a big catch--that is what I am supposed to do and that is what I expect to do."
Leggett is so focused this year that he barely talks to his own family. He's busy watching game film at home when he's away from the football field.
His maturity is evident.
"I am growing as a man," he said. "I have two more years and I really don't have time to play around if I want to make it to the next level."
Leggett, who wears jersey number nine because of Peter Warrick, is looking forward to redeeming himself in the FSU game on Monday. In fact, he wants the same play he dropped the pass on last year.
"To tell you the truth, I want that route in the game bad."
And this time he'll make the play. Just watch.
Christopher Stock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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