Speed Thrills: the 20 fastest players in the N.F.L. Draft

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Bill Carroll is going to write a few articles with us moving forward from time to time.

This one is about Speed.

Burn baby burn. Carroll’s words after the jump

As always there is a fascination with things that go really, really fast-Rockets, cars, cheetahs, Kardashian girls when they’re single. For the last few years I have tried to figure out who are college football’s fastest players. Sadly there is no orderly database maintained, as far as this kind of thing so I just use track data, combine results and my eyes.

1. Jeff Demps RB/KR Florida 2009 SEC Outdoor Championship 4x100m (38.74), he competed in four meets (four outdoors) for the Gators in 2009 and ran the anchor leg of Florida’s SEC Championship 4x100m relay team (38.74), which recorded the third-fastest time in school history. His best legal mark in the 100 meters is 10.01 (the fastest-ever junior time by an American), but he recently won the NCAA 100m title in a wind-aided (2.5 mps) 9.96, which is currently merely the 12th best time in the world (under any conditions) His personal record of 10.01 made him the SEC 100m champion and he’s the NCAA indoor 60m title-holder at 6.56

2. Luther Ambrose WR, LA-Monroe May be the fastest player most fans may not have heard of he has as run a 10.12 100m and 20.89 in the 200m. He has also run 6.70 in the Indoor 60m, 6.79outdoors and 24’4” in the long jump. He previously has been selected by USA Track and Field to compete in the North American, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Under-23 Track and Field Championships and Ambrose finished third in the 100-meter dash (10.12 seconds) at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., earning All-American honors.

3. Chris Rainey RB Florida at US Army Combine put up these numbers: 40-Yard Dash: 4.37, Short Shuttle: 4.15, Vertical Jump: 36.3″ 3-Cone: 6.50 Broad Jump: 9-7 When Rainey was at Lakeland High School, he was challenged to a race by legendary high school star Noel Devine. The two raced in a shopping mall parking lot, with the victory going to Rainey. To announce his arrival to the school, all Rainey did was blaze a sub 4.24 40 yard dash time [hand timed.] to earn fastest player on the team honors as just a young freshman. To do that at a school like a Florida that has super caliber athletes oozing from every nook and cranny is certainly a nice accomplishment to say the least. So it’s only natural that he would challenge the fastest player in college football.

4. Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas has run a 4.34 forty-yard dash, is the U.S. high school record holder with a best of 26-10. To illustrate how the long jump can translate to overall speed (and vice versa), he ran a 10.09 100M as a junior in high school.

Tied with Goodwin is T.J. Graham, WR, NC State As a HS Junior at Wakefield High School (Raleigh, NC), Graham placed 3rd nationally in the 100-meter dash at the ’07 Nike Nationals and as a Senior he brought home the North Carolina state title in both the 100 (10.44) and 200-meter (20.82). When Graham showed up at NC State he boasted a 4.29 40-yard dash.

5. WR/RB New Mexico Lamaar “Flash” Thomas a former Buckeye has already his presence in the MWC at the track Championships clocking a time of 10.33 taking the silver in the 100m-dash and was the anchor leg of the men’s 4×1 relay team at the MWC Championships with a time of 40.40. Ohio State: Finished fourth in the 100 meters (10.65) at the 2009 Big 10 Track Championships and helped the Buckeye’s 4×100 relay team capture gold (40.55). High School: Maryland state champion at 55 and 100 meters…state runner-up in the 200…Prince George’s County and Star/Gazette track athlete of the year…reportedly timed as fast as 10.30 in the 100m.
6. Conroy Black CB, Utah With 4.3-second speed in the 40-yard dash, the junior cornerback from Miramar, FL., is the fastest player on the Utah roster while in high school he ran the 100-meters in 10.3 seconds and was clocked at 20.98 seconds in the 200 meters.

7. Randall Carroll, WR, UCLA While in high school Carroll’s wind-legal 10.30 seconds time was the third-fastest wind legal mark in state history, trailing only the state record 10.25 achieved by Henry “The Heat” Thomas of Hawthorne way back in 1985 and the 10.29 effort by Compton’s Ricky Carrigan in 1991. His personal record in the 200 meter s is 20.91.

8. Ricardo Lockette Fort WR, Valley State University.  The positive buzz surrounding Lockette is understandable; he’s big receiver (6’2” ¾ and 212 pounds) with a track background and blazing speed. About 10-12 pounds ago he reportedly broke 4.3, But he has bulked up for football and Lockette has posted a high of 23 reps of 225 pounds at the recent HBCU Senior Bowl combine, and his max bench press of 343. He was selected to the Cactus Bowl All-Star game and has been invited to the Scouting Combine. He has posted a 10.28 100M. 20.63 200M

9. Jamere Holland WR Lindenwood University is a small school guy who twice was a big school guy at Southern Cal and Oregon, he has had maturity issues in the past when Holland was dismissed for violating team rules at Oregon apparently regarding a Facebook post,. Holland had 17 catches for 252 yards and two touchdowns in two years with Oregon, but I have been given very positive reports and supposedly he has at least 1 40 of 4.21 speed (on an automatic timer, no human error), if he does anything close to that he’ll get chance in the NFL.

10. Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia Though some of the hype has died down around him he still ran a 10.40 (100m) and 21.3 (200m) sprinter in high school, Devine has struggled through his senior year battling ankle and toe issues.