Ron Sellers, WR, 1966-1968
Inducted into the Florida State University Hall of Fame in 1977
In Ron Sellers' day he was arguably the most dangerous receiver in all of college football. The tall, lanky receiver overcame perception and convention to achieve his status as one of the most dominant players to ever play the receiver position in college history by the time he was a senior at Florida State.
He also rewrote the Seminole record books along the way and still sits atop almost ever major receiving category to this day.
Born in Jacksonville, Florida, by the time Sellers was fielding college offers he had helped his high school win a state basketball championship and most people thought his athletic future would unfold on the hardwood. At 6-4 180, he was– by conventional standards– the wrong build to be a football player.
"Funny," Sellers said in a 1968 Sports Illustrated article, "but if I hadn't been so thin I probably would have gone to college on a basketball scholarship. But people kept telling me I was too light to play football; that I'd get killed. It made me mad and I decided I'd show everybody. And so when FSU offered me a football scholarship, I took it."
In an article titled, "Jingle Joints Should be Judged by His Cover," Pat Putnam waxed poetic about just how jarring Sellers' ability was in comparison to his physique.
"People see Sellers for the first time, standing around or warming up, and invariably they are confused. How could this guy be so good? For sure, with his long, skinny bowed legs and thin frame, he's the most unlikely looking player on the field. Sellers can run 50 yards in 5.5 seconds, but always he looks as though at any moment his arms and legs will go flying off in entirely different directions. A Houston defensive back nicknamed him "Jingle Joints.""
After the pregame jokes, Sellers and the Seminoles were typically the only ones laughing though. In his first season on the field in 1966, Sellers broke out with 55 receptions for 874 yards and three touchdowns.
Then over his next two seasons he caught more passes for more yardage than anyone else in the nation over that span. As a junior in 1967 Sellers hauled in 70 balls for 1228 yards and 8 touchdowns. He was named a consensus NCAA All-American and six different media outlets and publications named him to their All-American teams.
For his encore he turned in the greatest single season receiving performance in FSU history. He caught 86 passes for 1496 yards and 12 touchdowns– all school records. Somehow though, despite being named to nine different All-American teams, he wasn't a consensus NCAA selection that year.
Sellers' record for receiving yards that season still stands to this day though. In fact, most of Sellers' records still stand to this day. His single season yardage and receptions marks from '68 are both Seminole records 45 years later. Sellers' 212 career receptions is also tops in Florida State history even to this day, as are his 3598 career receiving yards.
How good was Sellers? Four of the top five single game receiving totals in Seminole history belong to Sellers. He played 30 games at FSU over his career and went over 100 yards receiving in 19 of them. He went over 200 yards receiving in five games. That Houston team that called him 'Jingle Joints?' 14 receptions, 214 yards and a score.
Sellers was drafted in the first round, sixth overall, by the Boston Patriots in 1969 and went on to achieve modest NFL success. As a rookie in 1969 in the old AFL he caught 27 passes for 705 yards and six touchdowns. Over five seasons with three teams he ended up with 112 receptions for 2184 yards and 18 touchdowns.
He won a Super Bowl as a reserve on the 1973 Miami Dolphins in his final year of professional football.
People commented earlier in the countdown that Fred Biletnikoff should have been higher. Ron Sellers is the reason he's not. Biletnikoff played just a few years before Sellers, from 1962-1964, while Sellers played from 1966-1968.
The numbers aren't even close. In the same number of seasons Sellers had more touchdowns, two and a half times as many yards and the teams he played on were better. That's not to discredit Biletnikoff, Bill Peterson was just getting a hold of the program at Florida State in his era wheras a lot of things had turned around and were working in Sellers' favor by the time he got to FSU in the latter half of the '60's.
But while Fred Biletnikoff is more famous for what he did in a celebrated NFL career, Ron Sellers is without a doubt one of the greatest college receivers of all-time. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and still presides over most of the receiving categories in the Florida State University record books to this day.
His number 34 was just the second number ever retired at FSU. They didn't even wait a year to do it, retiring it the year he graduated– 1968.
Next on the countdown is one of the greatest linebackers in college history...
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