Power Ranking College Football's 25 Fastest Players

Sebastian LenaAnalyst IJanuary 28, 2014

Power Ranking College Football's 25 Fastest Players

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    Whitfield (7) put his speed on display during the BCS title game.
    Whitfield (7) put his speed on display during the BCS title game.David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    It’s no secret: College football plays host to some of the fastest athletes in all of sports.

    But who is the fastest of them all?

    The SEC typically likes to boast about the speed it possesses. However, the conference only checks in with five players on this list.

    In fact, the Big Ten actually leads the way with six. The ACC and Pac-12 finished tied for third with four.

    Join B/R as we take a closer look at the quickest players around the nation and count down the top 25 fastest.

     

    Author’s Note: Only 40 times when putting together this list, as most players don’t have other times listed.

    All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of CFBstats.com. All recruit rankings, 40 times and high school stats are courtesy of 247Sports.comNFLdraftscout.com and Scout.com.



25. WR De'Andre Thompkins (Penn State)

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    Thompkins' speed will be an asset for Penn State.
    Thompkins' speed will be an asset for Penn State.247Sports

    40 Time: 4.46

     

    The Skinny

    The addition of De'Andre Thompkins to their recruiting Class of 2014 will go a long way in helping the Nittany Lions forget about departed wide receiver Allen Robinson.

    What Thompkins lacks in size—he is 5’11”—he makes up with blistering speed. In high school, he actually finished second in the 2A state track championships in the 400 at 49.45 seconds.

    A former Swansboro High standout, Thompkins should have no problem blowing by defenders and making big plays for Penn State week in and week out.

24. WR Keanon Lowe (Oregon)

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    Look for Lowe's speed to make a difference in 2014.
    Look for Lowe's speed to make a difference in 2014.Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    40 Time: 4.46

     

    The Skinny

    Wide receiver Keanon Lowe is just the first player on this list from a school known for developing top-notch speed.

    In three seasons with the Ducks, the Portland, Ore., native hasn’t amazed with his stats—he only has 40 career receptions for 477 yards and six touchdowns. However, there’s no doubt Lowe can fly.

    No stranger to running in open space—he rushed for 1,213 yards and 20 touchdowns in his senior year at high school—Lowe is a deep threat on every snap. In fact, his 40-low is an impressive 4.35 seconds. 

    With two of Oregon’s top three leading receivers graduating, expect Lowe to quickly become a favorite target for quarterback Marcus Mariota next season.

23. RB Dalvin Cook (Florida State)

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    40 Time: 4.46

     

    The Skinny

    The state of Florida is known for its speed. Miami, Fla., native Dalvin Cook is no exception.

    Speed is one of the primary reasons Cook was ranked as the No. 2-overall running back in the Class of 2014.

    At 5’11” and 190 pounds, he has the frame and explosiveness to be lethal in the rushing attack. During his senior season at Miami Central, Cook rushed for 1,940 yards and found the end zone an impressive 34 times.

    A Seminoles commit, look for Cook to compliment reigning Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston very nicely next season.

22. RB T.J. Yeldon (Alabama)

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    Yeldon's (center) speed is often underrated.
    Yeldon's (center) speed is often underrated.Butch Dill/Associated Press

    40 Time: 4.45

     

    The Skinny

    It might be a surprise to see Crimson Tide running back T.J. Yeldon on this list.

    There’s no doubt the soon-to-be junior is considered one of the top rushers in the SEC—he’s ran for a little more than 2,300 yards and 26 touchdowns over the last two seasons. However, many rarely recognize Yeldon for his speed.

    Clocking in as fast as 4.35 seconds on the 40, this guy can flat out run in open space. 

    Whether it’s taking a dump off pass in the backfield or breaking through an opening on the line, Yeldon will make the opposition pay if you give him too much room to run.

    They don’t call it SEC speed for nothing.

21. CB Terrence Alexander (Uncommitted)

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    Although raw, Alexander could make a difference soon.
    Although raw, Alexander could make a difference soon.247Sports

    40 Time: 4.45

     

    The Skinny

    Cornerback Terrence Alexander may be a 3-star prospect, but there’s no doubt he has 5-star speed.

    With his speed and quickness, the New Orleans, La., native will always be in position to win matchups against wide receivers. If he can refine his technique, Alexander could grow into one of the top defenders in the nation.

    According to Crystal Ball predictions, Ole Miss and Notre Dame are two of the favorites to win his services for 2014.

20. CB Arrion Springs (Oregon)

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    40 Time: 4.44

     

    The Skinny

    Cornerback Arrion Springs height won’t make him a formidable defender in the Pac-12—he stands at 5’11”. However, his speed certainly will.

    A 4-star Ducks commit, Springs will have the advantage of taking risks and making gambles on plays. That’s because he has the speed to recover and find his receiver.

    If you’re going to be a star defender in the pass-happy Pac-12, it’s almost required that you can keep up with the conference’s speed.

    That shouldn’t be a problem for Springs.

19. CB/ATH Adoree' Jackson (Uncommitted)

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    40 Time: 4.44

     

    The Skinny

    Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson is the biggest prize remaining in the Class of 2014.

    The Gardena, Calif., native has wooed scouts with his jumping ability and talents on the defensive side of the ball. But it’s his speed that really makes Jackson special.

    Aside from starring on the gridiron, Jackson was the state champion in the long jump.

    Whether he’s trying to elude defenders as a wide receiver or chasing down receivers as a cornerback, Jackson’s speed will give him a boost over the competition.

18. WR Andre Debose (Florida)

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    Debose is lightning quick when he has the ball.
    Debose is lightning quick when he has the ball.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    40 Time: 4.43

     

    The Skinny

    Wide receiver Andre Debose hasn’t had many opportunities to show off his skills at Florida. The senior has dealt with injuries throughout his career, including tearing his ACL prior to last season.

    However, when healthy, Debose is one of the fastest players on the field.

    In 12 games in 2011, the Sanford, Fla., native caught 16 passes for a team-high 432 yards and four touchdowns. He also took one kickoff back for a score.

    Look for Debose to be called upon to deliver a spark to a Gators offense that is in dire need of one in 2014.

17. CB Sheroid Evans (Texas)

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    Evans will improve in 2014.
    Evans will improve in 2014.Harry How/Getty Images

    40 Time: 4.42

     

    The Skinny

    Expectations were high for cornerback Sheroid Evans’ junior campaign last season. However, injuries cut his year short.

    Still, in four games, the Sugar Land, Texas, native looked good. He recorded 14 tackles in that span.

    With a 40 clocked as low as 4.32, Evans has the speed and burst that makes opposing quarterbacks think twice before throwing the ball in his direction.

    The Longhorns defense struggled last season. But if Evans can return healthy, expect the unit to get a much-needed boost.

16. WR Phillip Dorsett (Miami)

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    Big things will be expected from Dorsett (left) upon his return.
    Big things will be expected from Dorsett (left) upon his return.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    40 Time: 4.42

     

    The Skinny

    Hurricanes wide receiver Phillip Dorsett was another casualty to injuries in 2013. He missed each of the team’s final seven games.

    It was a disappointing turn for the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native, who was expected to have a big year following his 2012 performance. In 12 games, he hauled in 58 catches for 842 yards and four touchdowns.

    With a 40 low of 4.32, there’s no question Dorsett’s biggest asset is his speed.

    If he can return in 2014 healthy, whoever starts at quarterback for Miami next season will have a special receiver to throw too.

15. RB Duke Johnson (Miami)

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    Johnson's (right) speed will lead him to success in 2014.
    Johnson's (right) speed will lead him to success in 2014.Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

    40 Time: 4.42

     

    The Skinny

    Just like his teammate from a slide before, running back Duke Johnson has blistering speed.

    And just like Phillip Dorsett, Johnson’s season was cut short after suffering a season-ending injury against Florida State.

    Still, the Miami, Fla., native managed to rush for 920 yards and six touchdowns in eight games. One can only imagine the numbers Johnson could put up with a full season’s worth of carries.

    In 2014, Johnson should be healthy and be the Hurricanes go-to-guy on offense.

    Expect to see a healthy dose of that speed and explosiveness.

14. WR/ATH Parris Campbell (Ohio State)

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    40 Time: 4.41

     

    The Skinny

    Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer is trying to bring that SEC speed to the Big Ten.

    That became evident from one of his top recruits in the Class of 2014, 4-star wide receiver/athlete Parris Campbell.

    With the ability to line up as a receiver or running back, Campbell has the versatility to keep opposing defenses on their heels. With his speed and agility, the Akron, Ohio, native is a threat to score from anymore on the field.

    Keep an eye out for Campbell next season.

13. WR/ATH Terry McLaurin (Ohio State)

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    Look for McLaurin's speed to make an impact in the Big Ten.
    Look for McLaurin's speed to make an impact in the Big Ten.247Sports

    40 Time: 4.41

     

    The Skinny

    The second of three Buckeyes on this list, look for 4-star 2014 prospect Terry McLaurin to show off his speed immediately.

    Winner of Indiana’s Mr. Football award in 2013, McLaurin showcased his ability all over the field in high school. During his senior season at Cathedral High, he caught 58 passes for 953 yards and eight touchdowns while rushing for 750 yards and six scores on 77 carries.

    McLaurin even returned two kickoffs back for touchdowns.

    Look for the Indianapolis, Ind., native to make life tough on opposing secondaries. It will be vital for defenses to pinpoint his position on the field on every snap.

     

12. RB Khalfani Muhammad (Cal)

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    The future is bright for Muhammad.
    The future is bright for Muhammad.Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    40 Time: 4.40

     

    The Skinny

    Golden Bears running back Khalfani Muhammad burst onto the scene in 2013.

    In 11 games, the freshman led the team in rushing with 445 yards and four touchdowns on just 74 carries. He also caught 14 passes for 184 yards and a score while returning kickoffs for Cal as well.

    Given his breakout speed, it’s no surprise that the team utilized Muhammad as much as it could.

    With another year of experience under his belt, expect the youngster to come back stronger and faster than ever in 2014.

11. ATH Jabrill Peppers (Michigan)

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    40 Time: 4.40

     

    The Skinny

    There’s a 5-star athlete Jabrill Peppers was considered the No. 3-ranked prospect in the Class of 2014.

    At 6’1” and 205 pounds, Peppers has the frame and build to be successful at various positions at the collegiate level. But the fact that he possess breakout speed makes him an elite talent that would benefit any team.

    A Wolverines commit, Peppers could make a difference at either safety or running back. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if the team decided to use him as a two-way player, similarly to how UCLA utilizes Myles Jack.

    Either way, Peppers speed and explosiveness will make him a hard player to slow down.

10. WR Robbie Rhodes (Baylor)

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    Rhodes should be a factor in the Bears' offense in 2014.
    Rhodes should be a factor in the Bears' offense in 2014.Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

    40 Time: 4.40

     

    The Skinny

    The former No. 1 wide receiver in the Class of 2013, Robbie Rhodes has several qualities that make him stand out among others.

    But the Fort Worth, Texas, native’s biggest aspect is his blistering speed. That mixed with his agility and change of direction make Rhodes one of the toughest receivers to defend.

    Last season, his numbers were a bit modest—10 receptions for 157 yards in eight games.

    However, with some key departures at the position, expect the Bears to make full use of Rhodes in 2014.

9. WR Speedy Noil (Texas A&M)

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    40 Time: 4.40

     

    The Skinny

    With a name such as Speed Noil, it would be a travesty if he was slow.

    Fortunately, that’s not a concern for the New Orleans, La., native.

    What makes Noil such a special player is his ability to make an impact at several different positions on the field. He can play quarterback, running back, receiver, defensive back and return kicks and punts.

    Noil’s blazing fast speed and explosiveness made him a hot commodity in the Class of 2014.

    But at the end of the day, it will be the Aggies that will get to enjoy his playmaking next season.

8. WR DeAndrew White (Alabama)

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    40 Time: 4.40

     

    The Skinny

    Wide receiver DeAndrew White is one of those players who has the potential to be a serious playmaker.

    The junior displayed that talent during the Crimson Tide’s loss to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl earlier in the month. He racked up 139 yards and a touchdown on just three catches.

    On his touchdown grab, White showed off his jets, racing for a 67-yard touchdown.

    Having dealt with injuries in the past, he’s not as fast as he once was. Still, White will give whoever starts at quarterback for Alabama in 2014 a nice target to throw too.

     

     

7. WR Miles Shuler (Northwestern)

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    Expect Northwestern to make the most of Shuler's talent.
    Expect Northwestern to make the most of Shuler's talent.Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

    40 Time: 4.39

     

    The Skinny

    Wide receiver Miles Shuler didn’t get much of an opportunity to star at Rutgers. In two seasons, he only caught 11 passes for 113 yards.

    As expected, the Long Branch, N.J., native took his talents elsewhere, transferring to the Wildcats.

    Per NCAA rules, Shuler had to sit out the 2013 season. But expect the youngster to put his speed on display next season.

    With a 40 low of 4.32, there’s no limit on just how much of an impact Shuler can have for Northwestern next season.

6. WR Dallas Burroughs (Boise State)

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    Burroughs (left) has sneaky fast speed.
    Burroughs (left) has sneaky fast speed.Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

    40 Time: 4.38

     

    The Skinny

    Broncos wide receiver Dallas Burroughs has had an underwhelming career on the stat sheet.

    In three seasons, the Meridian, Idaho, native has caught just 15 passes for 286 yards and a touchdown. Last season, he only caught two passes for 11 yards.

    Granted, Burroughs only played six games, still, he could of done better.

    But if there’s one thing he’s good at, it’s speed. Burroughs has posted a 40 low of 4.28 in the past.

    Given that he is going to be a senior, Burroughs will certainly feel the pressure to perform at Boise State next season.

5. CB Kyle Fulks (Uncommitted)

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    40 Time: 4.36

     

    The Skinny

    Cornerback Kyle Fulks is a guy to watch out for.

    Originally a 2013 commit for Baylor, the Katy, Texas, native wasn’t cleared to play by the NCAA. Therefore, he spent the majority of the 2013 season at the junior college level.

    Still, with the speed he possesses, Fulks could be a player that could specialize at both offense and defense.

    A former track star, Fulks has the burst and explosiveness that could make him succeed at the collegiate level. It’s moreso whether he can refine his mechanics that will determine how good he can be.

4. WR Curtis Samuel (Ohio State)

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    40 Time: 4.36

     

    The Skinny

    In a Buckeyes recruiting class filled with speed, 4-star prospect Curtis Samuel just might be the fastest.

    While he is listed as a wide receiver, the Brooklyn, N.Y., native has the versatility to star at several positions. That includes running back, safety and at returning kicks.

    New York’s 2013 Mr. Football, Samuel starred on both sides of the field at high school. It wouldn’t be surprising to see head coach Urban Meyer play around with the idea of continuing that trend at the collegiate level.

    With incredible up-field speed and explosiveness, Samuel will be a fun player to watch in 2014.

3. CB Tony Brown (Alabama)

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    40 Time: 4.35

     

    The Skinny

    Crimson Tide cornerback Tony Brown has established himself as a top defensive prospect in the Class of 2014.

    But during his high school career, the Beaumont, Texas, native was also an accomplished track and field star.

    With a 4.35 40, Brown is easily the fastest “elite” recruit in the country. Along with his speed, he has the size that should make him a formidable defender.

    In a conference that prides itself in boasting the top speed in the nation, Brown should fit right in near the top of the class.

    You’ll hardly see anybody faster than him next season.

2. WR Levonte Whitfield (Florida State)

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    40 Time: 4.35

     

    The Skinny

    Seminoles wide receiver Levonte Whitfield was easily one of the fastest prospects in the Class of 2013.

    Last season, he put that speed to good use, starring at various positions for the team. The Orlando, Fla., native caught five passes for 89 yards while adding another 110 yards and two touchdowns on three carries.

    He also returned 17 kickoffs back for 619 yards and two scores. Furthermore, Whitfield’s 36.41 average led the nation.

    But most will remember his performance in the 2014 BCS title game, where his fourth-quarter return touchdown was the spark Florida State needed to win the game. 

    Expect to see a lot more of Whitfield in 2014.

1. RB Thomas Tyner (Oregon)

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    40 Time: 4.30

     

    The Skinny

    The Ducks have replaced one of the nation’s fastest players—running back De’Anthony Thomas---with the player that holds the honor for 2014.

    Running back Thomas Tyner had a spectacular freshman season last year. He rushed for 711 yards and nine touchdowns on 115 carries. He also caught 14 passes for 134 yards.

    With Thomas departing for the NFL, that means Tyner will be the one to lead the show for Oregon in 2014.

    Other than star on the football field at Aloha High—he ran for an incredible 3,415 yards and 45 touchdowns his senior season—Tyner was a standout on the track team. In fact, he has been clocked as fast as 10.38 seconds in the 100-meter dash.

    The Ducks have quite the running back in Tyner.

     

    All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of CFBstats.com. All recruit rankings, 40 times and high school stats are courtesy of 247Sports.com, NFLdraftscout.com and Scout.com.

    For complete coverage and everything college football, you can reach Sebastian on FacebookTwitter and via email at Sebastian.LenaBR@gmail.com.