The 25 Speediest Guys in College Football

Jonathan McDanal@@jdmcdanalContributor IIIJuly 29, 2013

The 25 Speediest Guys in College Football

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    College football is dominated by the fast and strong. In the South Eastern Conference, strength on the line of scrimmage wins games. On the flip side of the coin, teams like Oregon, Ohio State and Texas A&M win games with speed.

    Speed is the antidote for strength, provided your teammates can keep the big, strong guys off you while you have the ball. Here are the 25 speediest guys in college football for the 2013 season.

    Some may not see the field, as they are new recruits, but they all have the raw talent necessary to burn any given defense (or offense) on any day of the week.

    *All 40 times are from unless otherwise linked.

T-25. Dior Mathis, Oregon Ducks

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    As mentioned in the intro, Oregon is known for speed. The first player from the Ducks' roster on this list is cornerback Dior Mathis. Mathis runs a 4.49 in the 40-yard, and he's been clocked as low as 4.38.

    His slowest time is a 4.59, which ties him with the next player in all three categories. Regardless of who may or may not be faster than he is, Mathis is a blazing fast addition to Oregon's secondary.

    Even if someone could beat him, he lines up 10-plus yards down the field from them on any given play. Nobody in the country can beat him with that kind of head start.

T-25. Ronald Darby, Florida State Seminoles

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    Ronald Darby, fittingly, is a cornerback for the Florida State Seminoles. He posted the exact same times as fellow corner Dior Mathis from the first slide. His low is a 4.38 with a consistent post of 4.49 and a long of 4.59.

    Florida State may not put 11 players into the NFL again this season, but Darby's speed will certainly give the 'Noles the edge in the least on the defensive side of the ball.

24. Marqise Lee, USC Trojans

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    Marqise Lee is one of the best wide receivers in the country. If not, he's the best. Lee owns a 4.49 40-yard time, just like the other two already mentioned on this list.

    The first tiebreaker is to go to the players' fastest times. In that facet, Lee beat the other two by 0.01 seconds. He put up a 4.37 in his fastest run.

    Lee's top-25 speed will help the 2013 USC Trojans put 2012 in the past...exactly where it belongs.

23. George Atkinson III, Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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    George Atkinson III is the biggest key to Notre Dame's offense in 2013, though he finished third on the team in the rushing category last year. Atkinson owns a 4.48 40, and he'll play a huge role in establishing the run for the Irish.

    Without speed like Atkinson's, Notre Dame would have a hard time selling the play-action game or the run itself. He may not be the best overall tailback on the roster, but he's the fastest player in the squad.

22. Stefon Diggs, Maryland Terrapins

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    Wide receiver Stefon Diggs, like Atkinson, runs 4.48 seconds in the 40. They both share the same low time (4.38), but the second tiebreaker is the slow time. Atkinson ran a 4.59, and Diggs ran a 4.58.

    Diggs is the Maryland offense, and he will be expected to perform to his speed and overall skill set in 2013. With him at his best, Maryland can move up the ACC. The Terrapins aren't ready to claim an ACC title yet, but they are definitely ready to move forward.

T-20. T.J. Yeldon, Alabama Crimson Tide

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    T.J. Yeldon and the next player have the same low, mid and high times in the 40: 4.35, 4.46 and 4.57. While Yeldon may not be recognized for his speed, he is an elite speedster.

    Alabama's bruising running backs rarely get noted for their straight-line speed, either because of phenomenal footwork and balance, or because the offensive line is manhandling the opposition.

    Either way, don't ignore Yeldon's ability to take a screen pass to the house with his speed. LSU found out about that the hard way last season, and Alabama rode that mistake all the way to a national title.

T-20. Keanon Lowe, Oregon Ducks

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    Yeldon's mate at No. 20 is none other than Oregon's speedy wide receiver, Keanon Lowe. Lowe is a force for the Ducks, and he caught 22 passes for 244 yards and three touchdowns last season.

    Lowe has the same 40 stats as Yeldon, but he doesn't get used nearly as much as the Alabama star. The Ducks had one of the best rushing attacks in the country last year, and the passing attack is just not as high a priority.

    With Marcus Mariota under center again in 2013, there's no telling how open Lowe might get this fall. Everyone will respect the run, but Mariota can throw the ball with the best of them.

19. Lache Seastrunk, Baylor Bears

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    Running back Lache Seastrunk counts toward Baylor in this piece, but Oregon fans can count him for their team if they want. Seastrunk transferred from Oregon to Baylor, and he's staring down the barrel of a potential Heisman campaign in 2013.

    Is it likely? No, but it's possible. With a 4.45 time in the 40, Seastrunk is comfortably entrenched on college football's list of speeders. He's posted a low of 4.34 before, and he has every bit of the talent and speed necessary to help Baylor contend for the Big 12 title this fall.

18. Sheroid Evans, Texas Longhorns

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    Texas safety Sheroid Evans is No. 18 on this list due to his slow 40 time of 4.56 seconds. His 40 of 4.42 seconds and low of 4.32 are both tied with the players on the next four slides.

    The Texas defense may not have looked its best in 2012, but it would be a huge mistake to assume that the Longhorns won't be prepared to play this year. Evans' speed and a healthy roster will rocket this defensive unit up the preseason charts.

    If the team stays healthy for the entire season, then Texas could conceivably run the table in the Big 12 and earn a trip to the Fiesta Bowl or better.

T-14. Phillip Dorsett, Miami Hurricanes

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    Phillip Dorsett is the slowest Miami Hurricanes player on the list, but he's clearly in good company. He's tied with the next three players in all three categories. They run 4.42-second 40s with lows of 4.32 and highs of 4.54.

    Dorsett is going to be one of Stephen Morris' top targets in 2013, and the Miami Hurricanes are likely to surprise many people by making it to the ACC title game (or better) due to the offensive firepower taking the field this fall.

    If Dorsett can carve a spot for himself as a staple in the offense, then he can contend for any award given to a wide receiver. The competition will be stiff but he's got as good a shot as anyone, especially with Morris throwing to him.

T-14. DeAndrew White, Alabama Crimson Tide

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    DeAndrew White makes the list with a solid 4.42-second time in the 40. Unfortunately, he gets a small asterisk next to his name on this list. He was lost last year due to injury in the game against Ole Miss.

    If his recovery and rehab have gone well, he'll have his speed back in no time. Regardless of whether he is back at full strength, he will be a valuable asset to the Tide's passing game.

    With Amari Cooper, Chris Black and Kenny Bell returning, Alabama will already have a serious advantage over nearly everyone it plays. Adding White to the mix just makes things borderline unfair.

T-14. Raymond Sanders, Kentucky Wildcats

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    Kentucky doesn't have a whole lot going for it at the moment, but a running back with great speed is definitely an asset worth building upon. Raymond Sanders logged the same speed as Phillip Dorsett, DeAndrew White and the player on the next slide to earn his spot at No. 14.

    The Wildcats have hope and they have a few players who can make differences in games. Sanders is the biggest touchdown threat for the Wildcats on any single play and he should be used liberally as long as he stays safe and healthy.

    If that happens, then Kentucky might just keep Tennessee down for another year or two.

T-14. LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State Bulldogs

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    LaDarius Perkins is the star running back for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. His 40 time of 4.42 absolutely backs the coach's decision up. Perkins is the fastest player at Mississippi State, and he will be the go-to ball carrier as long as he's there.

    In 2012, he racked up 1,016 yards and eight touchdowns off a team-leading 205 carries. It may be a lot to ask, but the Bulldogs would do quite well in the SEC if he could improve on that performance, even by just 100 yards or so.

T-12. Robbie Rhodes, Baylor Bears

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    Robbie Rhodes has the speed to contribute immediately anywhere in the country. As it is, he's the No. 1 wide receiver of the 2013 recruiting class, and he's chosen to go to Baylor.

    Baylor just lost a lot of experience at quarterback over the offseason, due to graduation. Rhodes can stand on offense with the likes of Lache Seastrunk and help Baylor possibly take the Big 12 by complete surprise.

    Rhodes isn't just one of the fastest players in college football, he's a player to watch for the next three or four years. He could be on this list for his entire collegiate career.

    With a 4.4-second 40, he's not going to be beaten easily.

T-12. Khalfani Muhammad, California Golden Bears

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    Khalfani Muhammad also runs a 4.4-second 40, and he's a highly touted 4-star running back who signed with the California Golden Bears. The Bears are looking towards a bright future under new management, and Muhammad could usher that age in starting this fall.

    The Bears need a solid running back for the near future, and he has arrived. He won't make the difference between the 2012 season and a Pac-12 title, but he could make the difference between nothing and a bowl game.

11. Miles Shuler, Rutgers Scarlet Knights

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    Miles Shuler's speed may not be enough to get him on the field for the majority of Rutgers' plays in 2013, but the Scarlet Knights need to at least give him a solid opportunity to perform. If not, then the Knights may as well hand the American Athletic Conference to the Louisville Cardinals.

    Shuler hits the 4.49-second mark in the 40, and he has posted a fast time of 4.32. (That 4.32 is what cost him the No. 10 spot in the rankings.)

    Shuler and the Knights have more work to do than just putting speed on the field, but speed is a great start.

10. Duke Johnson, Miami Hurricanes

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    Randy "Duke" Johnson isn't just one of the best running backs in the country, he's one of the fastest. Johnson runs a 4.39-second 40, just like Miles Shuler, but Johnson's best stands at 4.28 (0.04 better than Shuler).

    With Stephen Morris handing the ball off to Johnson, wide receiver Phillip Dorsett should be able to take the play-action game up a notch. Johnson rushed for 947 yards and 10 touchdowns via 139 carries last season.

    Miami has enough speed on the roster to take any other ACC team down. If the Hurricanes can focus, the ACC could be theirs.

9. Thomas Tyner, Oregon Ducks

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    Oregon once again hit the speed jackpot with Thomas Tyner. Tyner led his high school team (Aloha) to its first victory over Jesuit since 1985. (Jesuit is one of the premier high school programs in Oregon state.)

    Tyner doesn't have any collegiate stats to toss around yet, but Oregon certainly has room on the roster for a kid who ran a 4.37-second 40. If he plays his cards right, he could sit right behind De'Anthony Thomas and take over as the starter once Thomas leaves for the NFL.

8. Dallas Burroughs, Boise State Broncos

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    Dallas Burroughs is the fastest player at Boise State. He wasn't the team leader in receptions (four) or receiving yards (100), but he had the most yards per catch (25) of anyone on the team.

    Burroughs got 50 of his 100 yards off one catch. That just goes to show you that his 4.38-second 40 time is no joke. He posted a low of 4.28, and that was 0.02-seconds slower than the next player on this list.

    If Burroughs can make a strong case for  himself in 2013, the Broncos could make one last Bowl Championship Series bust before the era is over.

7. Andre Debose, Florida Gators

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    Andre Debose's fastest 40 time was 4.26 seconds, and that was the tiebreaker between him and Dallas Burroughs. Debose has excellent speed, and he has shown flashes of greatness throughout his career with the Florida Gators.

    Whether he has a breakout season as a fifth-year senior or not, he's one of the fastest guys in college football for 2013. Florida fans would love to see him break out and take some pressure off the quarterbacks, but this is his last shot.

    He either has to do it quickly or not at all.

6. Levonte Whitfield

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    Levonte Whitfield posted a 4.37-second 40 time during the recruiting process, and that established him as the fastest recruit in the class. He has yet to see the collegiate field, and his Florida State bio is merely full of hope.

    On the bright side, he will have Jameis Winston throwing the football to him whenever he earns his way onto the field. Whitfield can make things a lot easier for Winston, but he'll have to fight hard to get on the field at FSU.

5. Corey Brown, Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Ohio State's first player on the list, wide receiver Corey Brown, runs a 40 of 4.37 seconds. His fastest time stands at 4.26. While there was a 40-time tie between Brown and Levonte Whitfield, Whitfield's only reported time was a 4.37.

    Brown can help Braxton Miller one more time before departing from the collegiate ranks, but he is an all-out game breaker when he's at his best. If Ohio State has another undefeated regular season, expect to see Brown on the All-Big Ten Team.

4. Kyle Fulks, Baylor Bears

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    Baylor has another speedster coming to town with the 2013 recruiting class in Kyle Fulks. Fulks is a wide receiver/defensive back with a 4.36-second 40 time. That time was an average of three runs in which he also ran a 4.32.

    Whether he ends up playing on offense or defense, expect to see him light up his position and play a big part in the return game. Baylor does badly need defense, so don't be shocked to see him on that side of the ball.

    Again, it really doesn't matter where he goes, as long as the Bears coach him to his potential. If they do that, then he'll be one of the best players in college football before he hits the NFL draft.

3. De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon Ducks

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    The featured video here is just in case you missed De'Anthony Thomas last season. He wasn't perfect, but he did have a perfect play. He returned the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl against Kansas State.

    Oregon's returning running back has all the tools necessary to take the Pac-12 and whatever poor team draws the Ducks in the postseason. He consistently does this with a combination of balance, field vision, agility and a 4.34-second 40-yard time.

    Thomas will be missed at Oregon after the 2013 season, but you've already read about at least one replacement coming through the pipeline. Oregon will be fine.

2. Jeryl Brazil, LSU Tigers

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    Another recruit from the class of 2013 to make this list is Jeryl Brazil. He's listed as an athlete/dual-threat quarterback/cornerback by, and he would add instant value at almost any one of those positions.

    Brazil brings 4.32-second speed to the Tigers' roster, and LSU will need that speed to compete against the elite of the SEC. Well, that's a little unfair. LSU already competes with (and mostly beats) the rest of the SEC.

    Brazil is one of the kids that LSU can build another national championship around. That probably won't happen in 2013, but 2014 wouldn't be that surprising.

1. Bradley Roby, Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Ohio State's cornerback, Bradley Roby, makes the No. 1 spot on the list after running an incredible 4.31-second 40 during the summer between the 2011 and '12 seasons.

    Not only did he post the fastest time on the team that summer, he backed that speed up with an All-American performance during the Buckeyes' 12-0 run through the 2012 season.

    Roby racked up 40 solo tackles (62 total), two tackles for loss, one sack, one blocked kick, one fumble return, two interceptions and 17 pass breakups on his way to that 2012 All-America Team.

    Roby may not be the No. 1 overall draft pick when he leaves Ohio State, but he'll achieve legendary status if he can anchor the Buckeyes' defense on the way to a BCS bowl in 2013.

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