I thought I’d get an early jump on my annual fastest players in college football list by ranking the swiftest recruits from the class of 2011.
This might require you to temporarily suspend your belief that all reported 40-yard dash times are accurate. Hate to break it to you, but most players do not run 4.4 or better. Many 40 times are either fudged or improperly recorded. That’s why the most reliable and accurate indicator of true speed is–and always will be–track marks.
For instance, there have been many reports that Oregon recruit Tacoi Sumler might be this year’s fastest recruit based on his 40 time of 4.24. But his best verified 100m time is 10.80. Now, it could well be that he runs a very fast 40 and a not-very-fast 100. But when you are comparing speed, you have to compare apples to apples. Track times are run under similiar conditions and on similiar surfaces with legitimate timing devices. Forty-yard dashes are run on a wide array of surfaces, under widely varying conditions (no wind is ever recorded, for instance) and recorded without standard devices, which usually results in some inaccuracies. This is not to say that a player isn’t fast because he doesn’t have a track mark. It’s just acknowledging that track marks are the best way to quantify and then compare what we know about players and their speed.
Now, the list, which only includes players who have signed to date. Keep in mind that most of these guys still have another track season to go, so this list could shift by the time fall comes around:
1. Miles Schuler, WR, Rutgers–Schuler has a best of 10.39 in the 100 meters as a junior in high school. I give him the nod over Evans below due to his ability to pull that time off in a cold weather state like New Jersey. If he had the benefit of more training days in warm weather, he would likely have even faster times. As it stands, he is a highly-overlooked talent who should shine for the Scarlet Knights.
2. Sheroid Evans, CB, Texas–Evans also has a best of 10.39 in the 100m and adds to that a 20.82 in the 200m. He also is a standout in the intermediate hurdles. Might be a better overall athlete than anyone on this list, which is why he’s slated for cornerback for Texas.
3. Damiere Byrd, CB, South Carolina–Byrd had a best time of 10.42 in the 100m and should line up at cornerback and also serve as a dangerous return man for the Gamecocks.
4. Mike Bellamy, RB, Clemson–Bellamy is one of the more highly-recruited running backs in the country and he is a true breakaway threat with a best of 10.51 in the 100m.
5. Romar Morris, RB, North Carolina–A diminutive running back headed to UNC, he’s got a best of 10.54 in the 100m.
6. De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon–The Black Mamba has a best of 10.57 in the 100 meters and 21.01 in the 200m.
7. George Farmer, WR, USC–The nation’s top receiver recruit has blazed a 10.55 in the 100m and has gone as low as 10.40 wind-aided.
8. George Atkinson, DB, Notre Dame–Atkinson, who best projects to safety, has a best of 10.61 in the 100m.
9. Dallas Burroughs, WR, Boise State–Burroughs has a best of 10.63 in the 100m and is a good bet to be the next Bronco breakaway threat about whom everyone will ask “Where did he come from?”
10. Justin Scott-Wesley, WR, Georgia–Scott-Wesley has a best of 10.66 in the 100m.