Ranking the Fastest Players in College Football in 2020
Speed can't be taught, and the 2020 college football season will feature some of the fastest young men in the world playing for some very respectable programs.
As modern college offenses continue to focus on spreading their players out wide, speed is becoming more and more of a priority on both sides of the ball. It's not just running backs and wide receivers who are blowing by their opponents, but defensive backs, as well.
Whether they have backgrounds in track and field or have worked to enjoy natural speed on the football field, these five players are the fastest in college football heading into next season.
5. Travis Etienne, Clemson
Even though Travis Etienne can be more physical at times, the Clemson running back has explosiveness that makes him one of the fastest players at the college level, especially at his position.
Draft analysts were largely surprised when Etienne announced he would return to Clemson for the 2020 season instead of going pro. He consistently made big plays for the Tigers last year, running for 1,614 yards and 19 touchdowns while averaging an absurd 7.8 yards per carry.
Etienne's breakaway speed was evident a handful of times last year, most notably on a 90-yard touchdown run against Georgia Tech and another 86-yarder against Wofford. The Clemson running back's speed was on display before he ever suited up for the Tigers as he ran a 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds at The Opening in 2016.
At 5'10" and 210 pounds, Etienne still has solid size, but that speed has blown away countless scouts and analysts, making him more than worthy to be included among college football's fastest players in 2020.
4. Chris Tyree, Notre Dame
Chris Tyree has yet to step onto the field in a college football game, but he heads to Notre Dame as one of the fastest college players in the country.
The No. 1 all-purpose back in the country and the top player in the state of Virginia, Tyree signed his letter of intent with the Fighting Irish back in December. Coming in at 5'10" and 179 pounds, he was recruited heavily for his blazing speed and overall ability as a runner.
That speed has been well-documented thanks to The Opening back in July. Tyree's athleticism was on full display as he posted a 38.2-inch vertical and a blazing 40-yard dash time of 4.38 seconds.
As a true freshman, Tyree may not get enough touches for us to get a good look at his speed. However, as he continues to acclimate himself to the college game, it shouldn't surprise anyone when he establishes himself as one of the fastest players out there.
3. Daxton Hill, Michigan
The Michigan Wolverines have produced some athletic defensive backs in recent years, including the electrifying Jabrill Peppers. Soon-to-be sophomore defensive back Daxton Hill could give Peppers a run for his money as one of the fastest in Wolverines history.
Hill is listed at 6'0" and 190 pounds, but his speed is what made him the top-ranked safety in the 2019 recruiting class. In high school, he posted a blazing 40-yard dash time of 4.3 seconds. He also recorded a 43.6-inch vertical, which would be absurd even for a basketball player.
That athleticism gave Hill the opportunity to start and play significant snaps as a true freshman. The Tulsa, Oklahoma, native finished 2019 with 36 combined tackles, three pass deflections, two fumble recoveries and an interception.
With early production like that, Hill's role should expand in 2020. If he can play at an even higher level as a sophomore, the Michigan defense could be formidable once again.
2. Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
Derek Stingley Jr. solidified himself as one of the brightest young stars in college football last year thanks to some elite speed, and he'll be looking to build on that season in 2020.
The true freshman was a consensus All-American, dominating the competition while helping his team to a national championship. Stingley finished the year with six interceptions and a ridiculous 15 passes broken up.
Elite speed was a big reason he was consistently able to put himself in situations to make plays on the ball. Before he even enrolled at LSU, the cornerback had posted an incredible 4.3 40-yard dash and a short shuttle time of 4.28 seconds at The Opening.
Even at just 18 years old, Stingley has solidified himself as arguably the best defensive back in college football. In a couple of years, he could be one of the first picks in the NFL draft, and all eyes will be on him if he gets the chance to run the 40-yard dash at the combine before then.
1. Anthony Schwartz, Auburn
There is track-star speed, and then there is literal track star Anthony Schwartz, who rightfully earns the title as the fastest player in college football.
As a high schooler, Schwartz broke the youth world record in the 100-meter sprint, running the event in a blazing 10.15 seconds. He was also named the 2017-18 Gatorade Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year.
That track speed has already started to translate onto the football field for Auburn. In two seasons, Schwartz has racked up 10 total touchdowns and saw an increased workload as a receiver this past year, catching 41 passes for 440 yards.
Schwartz spends his offseasons with Auburn's track and field team, but his development is exciting for the Tigers coaching staff as they keep finding ways to get him the ball. With that kind of elite speed, it's easy to see why.
He may not be an All-American receiver at this point in his college football career, but Schwartz has secured his title as the fastest player in the country.