Through four games, Abilene Christian quarterback Dallas Sealey has passed for eight touchdowns and run for five.
He’s thrown just one interception this year, a remarkable stat for a quarterback with 169 attempts, leading a young team that’s still seeking its first 2016 win.
Going into Week 5 he leads the Southland Conference in total offense, is second in passing yards per game, and fourth in scoring.
And he’s also only a redshirt sophomore.
“I feel that the game has slowed a lot since I first started playing. Just preparing myself each and every week has really helped, along with [gaining] some experience,” said Sealey. “Each and every day I just make it my goal to focus in meetings and learn all I can there, and then I give my best effort in practice and try to improve.”
It is the first year as a starter for the Lawton, Okla., native. Last year, while a role player and backup to Parker McKenzie, he suffered a late-season thumb injury that kept him out of the Wildcats’ final game. This season, fully healed, he replaced the incumbent McKenzie as the team’s starting quarterback.
While they are 0-4, their record doesn’t reflect the competitive improvement over last year’s 3-8 mark.
They remained competitive in a season-opening loss to an undefeated Air Force team that will threaten for the Mountain West title. They fell in overtime to Houston Baptist in their Southland opener and dropped a 55-52 decision to Northern Colorado. In that game, Sealey ran for four touchdowns. His first score was a burst on fourth-and-1 that started as a quarterback dive at midfield and finished with Sealey alone in the end zone 49 yards later.
“He not only has an elusive quality to him in the pocket, he flat out has foot-speed,” said Grant Boone, the “Voice of the Wildcats” and a national broadcast journalist. “You’ll have your Tom Bradys who are elusive in the pocket, but when they get out in the open field, they’re not going to outrun anybody. Dallas has the ability not just to be slippery in the pocket, he flat out can outrun people once he gets into the open.”
Sealey, while not a well-known quantity nationally, is one of several current Wildcats vying to develop name recognition for an ACU program just gaining its footing at the NCAA Division I level.
The ACU football program began in 1919 and captured numerous Lone Star Alliance and Texas Collegiate Athletic Conference titles; two NAIA national championships; and was a perennial Division II power before transitioning to FCS in 2013.
Asked if he was aware of the tradition he was stepping into when he made the decision to attend ACU, Sealey admitted, “I honestly didn’t know anything about the history of ACU until Coach (Ken) Collums came for my in-home visit and that’s when I thought that this was the place for me. I felt as if the coaches here were really sincere and honest with me throughout the entire recruiting process and that hasn’t changed at all.”
Nor has the Wildcats’ opinion of the 6-1 quarterback who once had 17 strikeouts in a game as a high school pitcher.
“He’s a tremendous athlete. That much we knew from the moment he stepped on campus. The coaches could see that in the film,” said Boone.
Collums said he sees the same natural talent in Sealey, increasingly melded with the ACU offensive scheme.
“The thing is taking what God has given you, but tailoring that and keeping that within an offense. Because that just within itself is like a wild horse,” said Collums. “It’s kind of awesome to watch, but you kind of need him to do what he’s supposed to do. When they learn to do that, you can tell, and they start making jumps.”
Photo courtesy Richard Carson/Abilene Christian University