Sun Devil Summer School: The Stars of the 1960s - Charley TaylorPosted: Updated:
Riddle us this, Sun Devil Nation.
A college running back with a career total of 31 receptions eventually becomes the NFL's all-time leading receiver at the time of his retirement.
While certainly unexpected, but when you have the unreal athletic ability of Charley Taylor, all things are possible.
A great prep career in Texas landed Taylor a scholarship to Arizona State to play for Frank Kush. Given the athleticism of his new weapon, the legendary head coach soon deployed Taylor in a number of roles.
In his first season as a Sun Devil in 1961, Taylor led the team with 235 yards receiving (oh, how times have change) while adding 277 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. He also led the team in punt returns (11.6 average). Given his vast talent and the era in which he played, Taylor was also a factor as a defensive back, snagging two interceptions.
His second season was even better. He accumulated 671 yards from scrimmage, led the team in both scoring (eight touchdowns) and interceptions (four) to earn a second-team All-WAC spot.
In Taylor's final season in 1963, he ran for 595 yards, caught 11 passes for 217 more, averaged 30.5 yards on kickoff returns and 13.9 yards on punt returns, and added another interception to his resume. Add that up, and you get a first-team All-WAC player.
As dynamic as his Sun Devil career was, Taylor's best days were ahead of him.
In the 1964 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected Taylor with the third overall pick, still to this day the highest selection ever for a Sun Devil.
Taylor instantly delivered on the game's biggest stage.
He was the 1964 UPI Rookie of the Year and a Pro Bowler, thanks for 755 yards rushing, 814 receiving and 10 total touchdowns. In fact, the only real blemish for him that season was he only completed two of his 10 passes, with one interception. Can't have it all, it would seem.
He would go on to another Pro Bowl year in 1965, before a fateful decision the next year. The Redskins' staff moved the 6-foot-3 Taylor to wide receiver in 1966, and the NFL's all-time record books would ultimately be rewritten as a result.
That season, he made his third straight Pro Bowl, thanks to a league-best 72 catches for 1,119 yards. The next year, he again led the league, this time with 70 catches and earned a first-team All-Pro spot, in addition to a fourth Pro Bowl nod.
He'd post solid numbers over the next four years before experiencing a resurgence late in his career. From 1972-1975, he made another four consecutive Pro Bowls. Late in 1975 in a game against the Eagles, Taylor caught his 634th career pass, which made him the NFL's all-time leading receiver.
Taylor would play one more year in 1977 before hanging up the cleats, with 649 catches, 9,110 yards and 79 receiving touchdowns, 1,488 yards and 11 more scores rushing, eight Pro Bowls, and an All-Pro selection to his name.
Nine years after entering ASU's Hall of Fame, Taylor was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984, capping an amazing gridiron career.