Sellers making his case in spring

Over the last two years, the Arizona State defense has tallied 42 interceptions and allowed just over a 50 percent completion percentage on all passes thrown against them. While the secondary shouldn't be allowed to take the credit for those stats, they played a major role in both the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

Heading into the 2014 season, only one starter from the secondary remains from last year's team. But as is the tradition in college football, the next man needs to step up.

That's where Ronnie Sellers comes in.

The redshirt junior walk-on corner has come out of nowhere to supplant himself in the two-deep of the secondary as spring camp comes to a close.

"He's probably been one of the most improved players on the field," defensive coordinator Keith Patterson said of Sellers. "He's stepped up and played well. He's just got to continue to progress and finish up this Saturday (in the spring game)."

Sellers transferred to ASU from Glendale Community College a year ago to play defensive back as a walk on. However, right when he got to Tempe in the fall, head coach Todd Graham and the rest of the staff converted him to a wide receiver and he spent all of the 2013 season there on the scout team.

When the season was over and preparations for spring ball began, Sellers was moved back to the defensive side of the ball and has been working there since.

It's been hard fight to learn the defense and compete to make strides as a corner in Graham's scheme, but that's nothing short of what you'd expect for a walk on.

"It's a lot of hard work and dedication," Sellers said. "I have just got to make sure that I work hard and do everything they say, and even do more than what they say because I'm not on scholarship. I just have to work a little bit harder than everyone else. There are some confusing things, but I'm working with the coaches and watching a lot of film so it's slowly getting better."

All things considered, Sellers seems to have grasped the defense fairly well. Just this Thursday, Sellers took first team field corner reps – albeit with the de facto starter Rashad Wadood out with a knee injury. Even so, the fact that he's in the conversation is impressive for a non-scholarship player.

He hasn't been shy to throw around his 5'10" 180 pound frame in the physical "W Drill," and his ability to cover has evidently caught the eye of coach Graham.

In Graham's defense, the field side corner (wide side of the field) is asked to play off-coverage more often than bump and run. Typically, you'll see the more physical corner playing the boundary, and the corner with the better coverage skills taking the wide side. The latter is where Graham prefers Sellers at the moment.

"He told me that he likes what I'm doing so far and that I've improved a lot," Sellers said of his coverage skills. "Right now he says I just have to work on the little things, but I'm doing pretty good."

Perhaps Sellers' playing time in at the junior college level has helped prepare him for the grind of big conference football, and given him the upper hand on some of the younger defensive backs vying for playing time. "Yeah with the experience from JUCO," Sellers said, "but then again I don't really have the division one experience. With some of these freshmen, we came in at the same time so in division one football, we have the same experience. But in overall football, I feel that I have the edge over them."

Sellers said that his goal for the fall is to be on scholarship by the time the season rolls around, and just be able to play, even if it's on special teams.

His performance in the spring has garnered a look in the two-deep, but could this be just another player to shine in spring who eventually gets buried in the fall when all the new recruits come?

Well, that's up to him, according to secondary coach Chris Ball.

"It's not up to me," Ball explained. "It depends on how hard he works this summer. We have got some really good defensive backs coming in. He's going to have to step it up and have a great summer."


Sun Devil Source Top Stories