Power Ranking the Top 25 Fastest College Football Players for 2015

Justin Ferguson@@JFergusonBRCFB National AnalystJuly 8, 2015

Power Ranking the Top 25 Fastest College Football Players for 2015

0 of 25

    TCU WR Kolby Listenbee
    TCU WR Kolby ListenbeeKevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

    College football is getting faster each year, from the no-huddle offenses to the individual players who take the field each Saturday.

    Take the first College Football Playoff national championship game, for example. Both Ohio State and Oregon build their programs around elite speed, and they both made it to the sport's biggest stage at the end of the 2014 season.

    As the familiar saying goes, "speed kills"—and these are the top killers in the game.

    Because 40-yard dashes can be hand-timed and unreliable from place to place, official times from the Track and Field Results Reporting System and the U.S. Track and Field Coaches Association's list of fastest football players were used to sort out the best of the best in this countdown.

    While it's true that some who just play football might be faster than the track stars, these numbers are the best way to determine who has the most speed. Some of those who don't run track collegiately did make this top 25, and they were ranked by their success so far at showcasing their top-flight speed on the field with big plays.

25. Isaiah Brandt-Sims (Stanford)

1 of 25

    Isaiah Brandt-Sims gets a special place on this list. He hasn't played in a football game for the Cardinal yet—he redshirted last season—but he is already standing out for Stanford in track.

    According to SFGate.com's Tom FitzGerald, the speedster won Washington state titles in all four years of his high school career and posted a time of 10.53 seconds in the 100 meters earlier this year. Brandt-Sims has coaches raving about his elite speed, which could be a factor in special teams and as a receiver this fall on the Farm.

    "He’s a raw talent," Stanford track assistant Jody Stewart told FitzGerald. "He’s probably a kid who in the next two or three years could be in the NCAA final in the 200."

24. Jalen Hurd (Tennessee)

2 of 25

    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    At 6'3" and 230 pounds, Jalen Hurd is one of the biggest players on this list. His frame doesn't make him look like a speedy back, but he definitely is one for the Volunteers.

    Hurd led Tennessee in rushing as a freshman last season with 899 yards and five touchdowns. He reportedly ran a sub-4.4 40-yard dash in high school, making him a one-of-a-kind freak athlete at running back.

    Now a sophomore, Hurd should continue to grow in skill—and speed—in Tennessee's strength-and-conditioning program. The result is a freaky-fast player who could break out even more in 2015.

23. Curtis Samuel (Ohio State)

3 of 25

    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    Urban Meyer loves his speedy playmakers, and he has a handful of them at Ohio State. One of the best in that category is Curtis Samuel, who was a two-sport star in his home state of New York.

    Samuel had six touchdown carries last season and also took over kickoff return duties after an injury to Dontre Wilson—more on him later. He'll look to take on more responsibility in the Ohio State offense this season, and his speed could make him a star.

    "All it takes is one player with multiple skill sets such as Samuel to provide the versatility—and speed—Meyer so desperately covets," Bleacher Report's Ben Axelrod wrote in April. "He may not be as highly touted as [running back Ezekiel] Elliott heading into the season, but if Samuel makes the most of his new role, Meyer may have finally found his new Percy Harvin."

22. Stacy Coley (Miami)

4 of 25

    Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

    Stacy Coley's speed made him the best all-purpose newcomer in all of college football in 2013, when he recorded a touchdown four different ways and compiled 1,461 all-purpose yards.

    But after that blistering freshman season, Coley cooled off in a big way in 2014. The sophomore wasn't as big of a factor in the Hurricanes offense, and he failed to find the end zone on special teams.

    Both Coley and the rest of the Hurricanes are looking to turn things around after the disappointments of last season. If Coley can tap back into the magic that made him one of the best burners in the country, Miami will be in much better shape.

21. De'Mornay Pierson-El (Nebraska)

5 of 25

    Nati Harnik/Associated Press

    One of the nation's leaders in punt return touchdowns last season, De'Mornay Pierson-El is extremely dangerous in the open field—and he's just a sophomore.

    Pierson-El ran three punts back for touchdowns in 2014, tying Utah's Kaelin Clay for the top mark in college football. His special teams skill was on full display in big games last season, including a close loss at Michigan State and a late-season win against Iowa.

    He finished the season with his biggest performance as a receiver, when he set a Nebraska bowl record for catches in a game and recorded 102 yards. Mike Riley and the rest of the new coaching staff at Nebraska will definitely be looking for plenty of ways to utilize Pierson-El's speed in 2015.

20. Dontre Wilson (Ohio State)

6 of 25

    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    Before an injury late in the regular season derailed his momentum, Wilson was having a solid sophomore season for the Buckeyes.

    Wilson compiled more than 1,000 all-purpose yards and led the team in kickoff returns during its national championship run. He also added three receiving touchdowns as he showed glimpses of potential as a Buckeye.

    The fleet-footed Texan still hasn't quite lived up to the hype he had when he arrived in Columbus, but he seems focused on changing that in 2015. A healthy Wilson could tear up the record books this year for Ohio State thanks to his game-changing speed.

19. Isaiah McKenzie (Georgia)

7 of 25

    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Isaiah McKenzie didn't get a lot of work in Georgia's offense as a freshman. However, his speedy work as a return man turned heads for the Bulldogs in 2014.

    The Florida native ran two punts back for touchdowns against Troy and Kentucky. McKenzie completely torched Kentucky from the opening kickoff as he recorded his first career kick return touchdown against the Wildcats—a 90-yard sprint in which he went untouched into the end zone.

    Now a sophomore, McKenzie will figure to be a bigger contributor as a receiver this fall. While the Bulldogs' running backs will get most of the spotlight in the offense, don't sleep on the speed of a player like McKenzie.

18. Jalen Ramsey (Florida State)

8 of 25

    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Jalen Ramsey doesn't have the ball in his hands as much as most of the players on this list, but his speed and quickness are evident every time he steps onto the field.

    A key player in the Seminoles secondary, Ramsey was fourth on the team with 80 tackles last season, thanks in part to his great ability to close down on the ball-carrier. He also grabbed two interceptions and is always a threat to run one all the way back.

    In track, Ramsey won ACC titles earlier this year in the long jump and the 4x100-meter relay. He also competed in the 100 meters, where he posted a respectable time of 10.69 seconds.

17. Charles Nelson (Oregon)

9 of 25

    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    As a freshman last season, Charles Nelson exploded onto the scene for Oregon as a speedy special teams threat. By the end of the year, the Ducks were utilizing his abilities in their high-powered offense.

    Nelson led the Ducks in both kick and punt returns last season. He took back a pair of punts for touchdowns, including his first career return and then a 58-yarder in a close win against Cal.

    The former high school track star had a pair of receiving touchdowns in back-to-back games against Colorado and Oregon State before posting a 104-yard performance against Arizona in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Look for this high-flying Duck to get the ball more this season thanks to his breakout showcase of speed in 2014.

16. Broderick Snoddy (Georgia Tech)

10 of 25

    Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

    The top big-play threat in Georgia Tech's triple-option attack, Broderick Snoddy averaged more than 10 yards per carry last year as an A-back for Paul Johnson.

    Snoddy was a rising star in Georgia Tech's track program, setting a school record of 6.67 seconds in the 60-meter dash. That elite short-distance speed makes the Yellow Jackets offense even more dangerous to opponents.

    He suffered a gruesome broken leg injury in a win against Clemson last November. However, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Ken Sugiura, Snoddy was close to full health by the end of spring camp. His speed will be valuable to an offense that replaces a lot of starting talent in 2015.

15. Jabrill Peppers (Michigan)

11 of 25

    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    After an ankle injury stopped his heralded true freshman season at Michigan, Jabrill Peppers is healthy and ready to remind fans why he was a 5-star athlete out of high school.

    Peppers' track career in New Jersey was as good as his one in football. According to his bio on Michigan's website, he was the first runner from the Garden State to win both the 100- and 200-meter state championships in consecutive years. He holds the state record for the 200 meters with a time of 20.79 seconds.

    Now, under new head coach Jim Harbaugh, Peppers looks like a star again in the Wolverines backfield and could be a factor in the return game. After all, he had this highlight reel kickoff return back when he was a high school star.

14. Alex Ross (Oklahoma)

12 of 25

    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    Oklahoma's coaching staff has raved about Alex Ross' speed since his first practice in Norman, and he showed the rest of the country what he could do with it last season.

    As a sophomore, Ross returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, scoring in Big 12 wins against West Virginia and Texas. He finished third nationally in average yards per kickoff return—31.22—and was second at Oklahoma in rushing behind the phenomenal Samaje Perine.

    Ross ran track in high school and was the Oklahoma state champion in the 200-meter dash as a senior. He's back this season for the Sooners as a speedy return man who can also make the big play out of the backfield.

13. Kailo Moore (Ole Miss)

13 of 25

    Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

    Kailo Moore's track times are some of the best on this list—he ran a 10.43 in the 100 meters in 2014—but his impact on the football field has been minimal.

    That may change soon as he made a move to defensive back in order to supply more depth to the Rebels' famed "Land Shark" defense. His track prowess also makes him an option for Hugh Freeze and company in special teams.

    Moore has set school track records in Oxford with his speed, which ranks up there with some of the best in all of college football. The 2015 season could be when Moore gets to fully show what he can do on the football field.

12. Thomas Tyner (Oregon)

14 of 25

    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

    Injuries have limited Thomas Tyner's impact for Oregon, but he's shown that when he can get his hands on the football, he can create a big play in a hurry.

    After missing four games in 2014, the former freshman All-American made up for lost time in the Ducks' Rose Bowl romp over Florida State. Tyner ran for 162 yards and two touchdowns on just 13 carries.

    While Tyner doesn't run track for powerhouse Oregon, he was legendary in the state for what he could do in high school. According to his bio on Oregon's website, Tyner set the Oregon state record in the 100 meters with a time of 10.43 seconds—as a sophomore.

11. Speedy Noil (Texas A&M)

15 of 25

    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    A player named "Speedy" is definitely going to be on this countdown. After all, there's a reason he doesn't go by "Devonte Noil."

    Noil, a former 5-star recruit out of Louisiana, earned significant playing time as a true freshman because of his ability to leave defenders in the dust. He finished third on the team in receiving yards and touchdowns while leading Texas A&M in kick and punt returns.

    While he doesn't have the track times of the stars in the top 10 of this list, he showed in 2014 he knows how to make the best use of his speed on the football field. "SEC speed" is a given for this properly named phenom.

10. Marlon Humphrey (Alabama)

16 of 25

    Courtesy: 247Sports

    The son of former Alabama running back Bobby Humphrey, Marlon Humphrey already had name recognition the first time he stepped foot onto campus.

    He was a track star at Alabama high school powerhouse Hoover and carried on that success at Alabama, joining a school record-setting 4x100 relay team and competing in sprints and hurdles. After redshirting for the Tide's football program in 2014, he's ready to showcase his elite speed as a contributor in the secondary this year.

    "He was already so much faster than everybody else in high school so he was able to transition pretty smoothly," Alabama track assistant Matt Kane told AL.com's Drew Champlin. "He looks like a man as opposed to a college freshman, but he's not too bulky. People worry about that, but he's really got good football weight and everything." 

9. KD Cannon (Baylor)

17 of 25

    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    KD Cannon's last name fits him perfectly, as his explosive speed makes him ammunition in Baylor's point-a-minute offense.

    As a true freshman last season, Cannon broke six school records and averaged a ridiculous 17.76 yards per reception as the Bears defended their Big 12 title. He had four 100-yard games in his first year with Baylor, including a 197-yard, two-score performance against Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl.

    In track this year, Cannon posted a time of 10.58 seconds in the 100 meters—but, according to ESPN.com's Max Olson, his personal best is a 10.37-second mark he had as a high school senior. As a receiver, the sky is the limit for a player that personifies the Bears' lightning-fast offense.

8. Adoree' Jackson (USC)

18 of 25

    Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

    "Athlete" doesn't begin to describe Adoree' Jackson, one of the fastest players out on the West Coast.

    As a true freshman in 2014, Jackson had three receiving touchdowns, two kick return touchdowns and 10 starts at cornerback for the Trojans. This season, he's set to catch more passes from quarterback Cody Kessler as a bigger factor in the USC offense.

    His do-it-all athleticism is evident in track and field, too, as he posted a time of 10.48 seconds in the 100 meters and also won the Pac-12 title in the long jump. Whether it's on offense, defense or special teams, Jackson is going to use those championship-winning legs to blow past the competition.

7. Khalfani Muhammad (Cal)

19 of 25

    Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    Standing at just 5'7" and weighing in at 170 pounds, Khalfani Muhammad is a small player who packs a big punch with his breakaway speed.

    The junior set a new personal record in the 100 meters earlier this year by posting a time of 10.44 seconds. His mark was one of the best among football players who also run track, a sport that Muhammad excelled at in high school with multiple California state championships.

    He'll look to bounce back on the football field this year after seeing his stats dip in his sophomore season. According to his bio on Cal's website, Muhammad is listed as one of the starting kick returners for the Golden Bears and will be in the running back rotation this fall.

6. Tyrell Johnson (Arizona)

20 of 25

    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    When Tyrell Johnson was in high school in Cape Coral, Florida, he broke county track records held by former Clemson star Sammie Watkins.

    "We were always competing, always competitive," Johnson told FOX Sports Arizona's Anthony Gimino earlier this year. "It was something we would always fight for, always trying to be better than the other... It was a big deal when I broke his record. Everyone was like, 'Oh man, you're fast.'"

    Johnson matched his record-breaking time in the 100 meters earlier this year—10.4 seconds—at the Pac-12 Track and Field Championships. Now this track star is setting his sights on an even bigger year for the Wildcats in football as a return specialist and a slot receiver.

5. Tony Brown (Alabama)

21 of 25

    Courtesy: 247Sports

    One of the biggest recruits of Alabama's 2014 class, Tony Brown wasted no time in getting on the football field and the track for the Crimson Tide as a freshman.

    The former No. 9 overall prospect enrolled early in Tuscaloosa last year and competed in the 60-meter sprint and hurdles in the 2014 indoor season. Brown made two starts at cornerback for Alabama last season and will most likely start there full time in 2015. 

    According to AL.com's Matt Zenitz, Brown stepped in for the Alabama track team in the 4x100 relay this season and did well, finishing eighth at the NCAA Championships and earning an All-American honor. Now he'll look for more honors in Nick Saban's defense as one of the quickest and most talented underclassmen in the SEC.

4. Cameron Echols-Luper (TCU)

22 of 25

    Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Cameron Echols-Luper was an incredible athlete coming out of Auburn, Alabama, and he's been a difference-maker in football and track for the Horned Frogs.

    The speedster was part of TCU's 4x100-relay team that finished second at the NCAA Championships earlier this year. Last year, Echols-Luper had the fastest time in the 200 meters among Division I football players, and he improved it to a 20.39 mark at the 2015 Big 12 Championships.

    Echols-Luper made his biggest impact for TCU's football program last season in the punt return game, where he sprinted past Kansas for a crucial 69-yard touchdown. He switched from offense to defense this offseason and will continue to be a special teams speed demon for the Horned Frogs.

3. Kermit Whitfield (Florida State)

23 of 25

    Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

    While Kermit Whitfield didn't find the end zone on a kick return last season for the Seminoles, he still was able to show the college football world that he is one of the fastest players in the country.

    The rising junior made a name for himself as a freshman in the national championship game against Auburn, turning the game's momentum with a 100-yard touchdown on a kickoff. He led the nation in kick return averaged that season at 36.4 yards and took one 97 yards to the house against Wake Forest.

    Whitfield, who ran in the ACC Indoor Track Championships earlier this year, was a pure burner in high school with a stunning personal-record time of 10.21 seconds in the 100 meters. He'll look to become a bigger weapon in Florida State's passing game this fall, where he can utilize the gifts that make him a dangerous return man.

2. Devon Allen (Oregon)

24 of 25

    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    In 2014, Devon Allen had a year most dual-sport athletes would only dream of accomplishing. In track, Allen won both the U.S. Track and Field and the NCAA titles in 110-meter hurdles. According to the Pac-12, he was the first man to pull off that feat since 1979.

    Allen then carried over his hurdling success into football season, when he led Oregon in receiving touchdowns as a redshirt freshman receiver. He had his first big game against a tough Michigan State defense, using his speed to turn three catches into 110 yards and two touchdowns.

    The dynamic Duck tore his ACL on the opening kickoff of the Rose Bowl against Florida State, causing him to miss the national title game against Ohio State and the entire 2015 outdoor track season. But, according to the Oregonian's Andrew Greif, Allen is expected to be fully healthy by fall camp. He'll be a key figure once again in the Ducks' warp-speed offense.

1. Kolby Listenbee (TCU)

25 of 25

    Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Kolby Listenbee isn't just the fastest player in college football—he's one of the fastest athletes in the entire country.

    The TCU wide receiver posted a blazing time of 10.04 seconds in the 100 meters at the NCAA Championships earlier this year, which was the 13th-best mark of any American track star—professional or collegiate. Listenbee also anchored TCU's record-breaking 4x100 team that featured football teammate Echols-Luper.

    On the football field, Listenbee broke out last season in TCU's new uptempo spread offense and was second on the team in receiving yards and catches. The world-class speedster averaged more than 18 yards per grab and will be a top target once again for Heisman-contending quarterback Trevone Boykin. 

    Unless noted otherwise, all recruiting rankings come from 247 Sports.

    Justin Ferguson is an on-call college football writer at Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @JFergusonBR. 


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.