Former University of Florida running back Jeff Demps is home from London—where he won a silver medal as a part of the the United States' 4x100 relay team—and his sights are now set on playing in the National Football League.
The Jets are among the teams who have reached out to Demps, according to a person with knowledge of the team's contact with Demps' camp. That person requested anonymity because the team has not commented on its potential interest.
Of all the 32 teams in the NFL, New York appears like the perfect fit for Demps.
Not only would Demps bring some much needed speed and explosiveness to the Jets' offense, but the former Florida star also has experience playing with New York's newest offensive gadget, Tim Tebow.
The NCAA 100-meter sprint champion in 2010, Demps obviously has the kind of world-class speed that would be rivaled by only a few players currently in the NFL. In fact, the 5'7", 180-pound Demps might become the de facto fastest straight-line player in the NFL the second he signs on the dotted line.
According to the Heisman Pundit, Demps ran a 9.96-second 100-meter dash during his junior year at the University of Florida. And that time came while Demps was mostly focusing on football at Florida, instead of track. The site also lists Demps' best 60-meter time at 6.53 seconds.
One could only assume that Demps' 40-yard dash time would be somewhere in the 4.2- to 4.3-second range.
Like most teams, the Jets currently lack that kind of explosive speed on the offensive side of the ball.
In certain packages, offensive coordinator Tony Sparano could certainly find ways to get Demps on the field.
Such a package might be with Tebow, with whom Demps played two seasons (2008-09) at Florida. The two frequently ran the zone-read option in Urban Meyer's spread offense, and the Jets plan on using Tebow for a set number of plays each game in a similar look.
While Demps is unlikely to be a strong inside runner, his speed on the edge would be another constant threat for defensives to deal with in the Wildcat package.
Tebow has already vouched for the Jets to bring Demps aboard.
Via Rich Cimini of ESPN New York:
They asked me about him. Jeff is a great guy and a great player. He's someone I was proud to play with in college and he did a great job for us. ... Would we love to have him? Absolutely. I'd love to have him as a teammate because I know how hard he works and what he brings to the table.
The Jets could even look to emulate what the Pittsburgh Steelers have done early on with fellow Florida back Chris Rainey. The small but super-quick back scored a touchdown on a screen pass in his preseason debut while also serving as the backup running back.
The Steelers have said all along that Rainey would be used in a hybrid role. New York could do the same with Demps.
When push comes to shove, there appears to be little risk in the Jets kicking the tires here. Demps won't cost much, but he provides the potential to be a faster version of Dexter McCluster.
For an offense willing to use snaps on gadget plays with Tebow, why not add a matchup nightmare that once excelled lining up next to him at Florida?