Who are they,
anyway, these two teenagers who have pumped so much unexpected drama and
excitement into the 1966 collegiate season? Basically, they are just a couple
of kids who have nothing more startling to reveal in their characters than
politeness and wonderment, and nothing more dome-shaking to say than, "No,
sir, I sure didn't expect anything like this to happen."
The receiving end
of this pass-and-catch sensation, Jim Seymour, comes from Berkley, Mich. There
are enough Seymours to choose up for a game of backyard touch--four brothers
and one sister besides Jim, one of whom, John, played halfback at Army for
three years. Fortunately the father, Bart, is well off, the vice president of a
company called Imperial Metallic Lubricants, Inc., a Detroit firm that sells
oil products to industry. Bart appears to have sold a lot. The Seymour home is
large, elegantly furnished and has a swimming pool.
Seymour is so
impressive an athlete that simply stating what he is and what he can do comes
out almost like lies. Take the size and speed. He is 6'4" and weighs 208
pounds and can run the hurdles. Then you put him at his position, end, and you
give him an acrobat's moves and leg spring and, quite frankly, the damnedest
pair of hands any pro scout has ever seen on a sophomore, and what you wind up
with is instant touchdown, the perfect receiver for Hanratty.
Seymour has proved
that he can run all the patterns Ara can chart, and that he is exceptionally
dangerous on the long ones, where his smooth, powerful speed leaves a defensive
man alone and embarrassed. But then, while he's in open throttle, looking like
a 440 man on the backstretch, here comes the ball from Hanratty, and Jim simply
brings it in--a man taking a can of peas off a shelf. He has done it at least
once against every team he has met, and twice or three times against most. In
the Purdue game alone he pulled down 13 for 276 yards and three touchdowns.
The pro scouts are
the best judges, and Seymour already has driven many of them out of their usual
nonchalance, not to mention their rented cars.
"I'll tell you
what," one of them says. "There has never been a kid at his position
who has his size, his speed, his moves, his hands and his attitude. He's got to
be the most unreal thing that's ever come along. I can't think of a pro club he
couldn't start for right now. The only guy who remotely resembles him in the
pros is Boyd Dowler. And he's pretty good, isn't he? You know what? I'd take
At such praise,
the Notre Dame split end is mystified and aghast, although I must tell you that
he can wrap a neat four-in-hand knot in his tie, centered, without the aid of a
mirror. He has also taught himself to play the guitar and cook almost any dish
he wants to eat. There are a lot of people who might rank these talents up
there with catching touchdown passes.
too many for everyone to get so excited," Jim says, smiling easily. He is
handsome and personable in a Roger Staubach kind of way--scrubbed, wide grin,
white teeth, neatly dressed. "There are a lot of things I've got to learn.
I haven't even begun to see any variety of defenses yet. And I think I have
trouble catching the low passes. I'm working on that."
Seymour also has
an uncanny ability to take the ball away from people, which, incidentally, is
how he got hurt in the Oklahoma game. He went up between three defenders and
came down with a sprain. The only serious wound he ever suffered before this
was a cleated eye in high school. "That was kind of bad," he says,
neglecting to mention that when it happened, during the opening game of his
senior season, he left the field, had 10 stitches taken and came
back--one-eyed--to lead his team to victory.
Terry Hanratty, comes from an entirely different background than Seymour--a
separated family in Butler, Pa. His mother has not yet seen him play, except
against Purdue on television, but it is not because she always hoped that he
would become a baseball player. "I pushed him in sports all my life,"
she says. "I wanted him to play baseball, but I always told him, If you
want something out of life, you can get it through sports."