NOTRE DAME - Notre Dame center Braxston Cave is a big believer, that everything happens for a reason.
Last season, the former Penn high star was having a standout senior year and likely had a decision to make about entering the NFL. As fate would have it, Cave suffered a season ending foot injury at Wake Forest that put his NFL dreams on hold. And kept him here in town, for one more year.
"(Being hurt) was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life," Cave told WSBT sports.
"Seeing all my brothers out there going to battle, and I had to be on the sideline in crutches. It was terrible. But its another one of those humbling experiences that really puts things in perspective and shows me how special Notre Dame is and make me want (to play) even more."
After spending nearly a decade in the local spotlight, the former Penn high school star is gearing up for one final season playing in front of the home town fans.
"It's very emotional," Cave says, thinking ahead to his final season at Notre Dame. "I sit in bed at night and wonder what it's going to be like after this. I've been here my entire life."
Braxston graduated last spring with a degree in Psychology. But before he leaves Notre Dame, he feels he's got some unfinished business on the field.
"In the past we've been up and done and let games slip away from us that never should have. I was part of the #1 recruiting class in the country. The guys who are still left, have a chip on their shoulder. That's where we need to get ourselves back to."
Cave is back to anchor an offensive line that has the potential to be among the nation's best. And as he reflects back on the trials and successes of his time at Notre Dame, it's pretty clear to see he's happy to have one more chance to write a perfect ending.
"Fulfilling my dream. I wanted to come to Notre Dame but I didn't want to just come here be a part of the team I wanted to be somebody on the team, a leader, a great football player that people will remember. It doesn't seem like its been that long. It flies by but looking back, five years now it's been a great experience."