Speed To Burn? Ranking The SEC’s Fastest Players

Based on various factors including natural speed, acceleration and quick burst ability, here is the list of the fastest players in the SEC heading into this season; 40-yard dash times courtesy of NFL Draft Scout.

Speed Kills Top 10

10. Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama, Jr., CB (4.49, 40-yard dash) — Kirkpatrick looked fast as a prep senior in the All-American Game and has only gotten faster at Alabama. He has NFL scouts drooling over his 6-foot-3, 192-pound frame and moves well with his length. A defensive back with a knack for getting to the football, Kirkpatrick’s a terror for opposing quarterbacks in the Crimson Tide secondary.

9. Morris Claiborne, LSU, Jr., CB (4.45) — Claiborne is a freak of an athlete in Baton Rouge with Patrick Peterson-like instincts. An All-SEC second-teamer last season, Claiborne is one of the fastest corners in the SEC and can shut down anyone’s top receiver. Claiborne was a sprint champion in high school.

8. Ace Sanders, South Carolina, Soph., WR (4.41) — Small in size but heavy on talent, Sanders looks faster than he is since he’s so low to the ground. Less than six feet tall, he’s tough to cover in the open field and could play a factor in South Carolina’s return game this season.

7. Ronnie Wingo Jr., Arkansas, Jr., RB (4.42) — A touch quicker than Knile Davis, Wingo Jr. is the No. 1 running back this season for Bobby Petrino’s bunch after Davis went down with an injury. Expect Wingo Jr. to showcase his speed early in an impressive SEC West – college football’s most-talented division.

6. Onterio McCalebb, Auburn, Jr., RB (4.38) — As Auburn’s return specialist, McCalebb is dangerous in the kicking game and on offense. He thrives in Gus Malzahn’s spread and can turn an 8-yard reverse into a 72-yard touchdown at any time. Watch out, the Tigers’ double reverse usually results in big gains.

5. Branden Smith, Georgia, Jr., CB (4.38) — If you’re looking for blazing speed, Smith has it. His 4.19 time in the 40 as a senior at Booker T. Washington High seemed a bit outlandish until the 5-foot-11 corner followed it up with an official 4.28 time in Athens as a freshman. Mark Richt and company need to utilize Smith more often this season, perhaps in a role similar to former do-everything Bulldog, Champ Bailey.

4. Jarius Wright, Arkansas, Sr., WR (4.34) — One of many threats on the outside for the Razorbacks, Wright has the most speed of any of Arkansas’ talented wideouts. Taken during spring practice, Wright is tied with Wingo Jr. for the fastest recorded 40 time on the team at 4.27 seconds. He caught fire in his final six games as a junior, scoring five touchdowns.

3. Chris Rainey, Florida, Sr., RB (4.35) — Mini-Demps is a big-play threat for the Gators marred by off-the-field problems much of his career. If Rainey stays healthy in 2011, he’ll make the most of his touches and help a Florida offense that flatlined a season ago. Like Andre Dubose, he’s one of a handful of undersized Gators blessed with quickness.

2. Brandon Boykin, Georgia, Sr., CB (4.35) — One of two speedy cornerbacks between the hedges, Boykin showcased his afterburn as a sophomore against South Carolina, bludgeoning the Gamecocks for 187 yards on four kickoff returns. His 100-yard runback in the first quarter gave the Bulldogs momentum that evolved into a 41-37 win.

1. Jeff Demps, Florida, Sr., RB (4.26) — This guy is Flash Gordon in pads and by far the SEC’s top speed demon. Demps has been clocked at 4.24 in the 40 on multiple occasions and can sprint from goal line to goal line in 10 seconds. If you haven’t seen Demp’s track and field highlights at Florida, check out them out YouTube.

Photo from Icon SMI


Just Missed The Cut

* Damiere Byrd, South Carolina, Fr., WR (4.32) — Hard to put a player in the Top 10 who hasn’t seen the field as a collegian, but if Gamecock coaches are correct, he could be the fastest player in football by the time he gets acclimated to the SEC. A 4.32 time in New Jersey as a prep senior is eye-popping.

* Trent Richardson, Alabama, Jr., RB (4.55) — The Crimson Tide’s thunder to Mark Ingram’s lightning, it’s hard to bottle up Richardson when he’s in the open field. He’s not the fastest player on Nick Saban’s team, but his sub 4.5 speed is impressive as a bruising running back.

* Jeff Scott, Ole Miss, Soph., RB (4.66) — One of the few returning weapons in Houston Nutt’s offense, Scott averaged 6.5 yards per carry last season and scored one of three touchdowns on an 83-yard scamper against Auburn. The sophomore from Miami is the Rebels’ top speedster.

* Bradley Sylve, Alabama, Fr., WR (4.43) — Jaws dropped in Tuscaloosa when the 5-foot-11 freshman from Louisiana arrived on campus in 2011. He moves swiftly with the football and makes multiple defenders miss. Sylve returned a kickoff 91 yards in last year’s Under Armour All-American Game.

* Justin Hunter, Tennessee, Soph., WR (4.41) — Hunter should be one of quarterback Tyler Bray’s top targets this fall with good hands and one of the quickest first steps off the line in the SEC. Seven of Hunter’s 16 catches last season went for scores.



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  • How ’bout that Gator tandem. Let’s see if Weis can get these speedsters going.

  • I have a sneaking suspicion that Georgia will use Brandon Smith on offense.

    But I’m pumped to see Jeff Demps ranked No. 1. Now, if we can just get both Demps and Chris Rainey good out of the I-form.

  • You left out Arkansas CB Darius Winston. He was timed at 4.29 in the spring with a hand-held laser timer. Jarius Wright and Knile Davis both recorded 4.27, while Ronnie Wingo was at 4.31 in the 40.

    • Sounds to me like someone is tellin a tall tale, or a fast one. If Davis, Winston, and Wingo were clocked that fast, especially Davis, ESPN would have been on it in a hurry. Where did you get that info and is a credible source? Look up Arnoldis Chapman, pitcher for the Reds, before defecting from Cuba multiple scouts clocked him throwing over 100+ and many captured his fastest at 104 mph, yet watch any game played in Cincy and he’ll hit 106-108 multiple times yet when he is at away games his speed drops to 100-103. Moral of the story, the home team will skew the stats to glorify a stud or create hype and cant always be trusted. Im not sayin the three arent fast but they arent sub 4.30 fast, the numbers on this list are from an independent NFL scout. And I wouldnt put much into 40 times anyway, I ran a 4.51 in highschool but could I do it in pads? Heck no, add atleast .15-.20 to all of these times and you’ll be close to game speed with pads, thier helmets alone wiegh 10 pounds.

  • Win Gates, there’s a lot of fast guys not on my list. Tough to commend everyone. These are my notables after days of research and compilation.

  • Yes Tideroller13, I would consider the Razorback coaching staff credible, even if you wouldn’t. Can’t control what espn does or doesn’t do. The times are accurate from spring.

    • Let me guess, you pulled your “facts” from tigerdroppings? Where Knile posted a tweet saying just dropped a 4.27. So you say well it must be true, and where did you get this laser time garbage, if anything it was hand time which is at best inconsistant. Go to NFLscouts and you’ll see where even they have him running 4.4-4.5. So here is an idea, post the site(s) where you got your info so we can all check it out because I can tell you that no one runs a 4.27 and it doesnt atleast make CFBlive in which I have everyone recorded and watched. Funny too is that I watched the Arky practice game and never heard any of that.

  • Vols RB Rajion Neal and S Brent Brewer both laser timed in the 4.3’s at Tennessee’s “Combine” they had over the summer. They are definitely the fastest guys on the team

  • I’ll give my top 10 off my head (so I may have omitted or mis-ordered slightly…but it should be close) based on 40 yard dash….

    1. Jeff Demps(Florida)- NCAA 60 Meter Champ in 2010 & 2011 & 2010 NCAA 100 Meter Champ. 6.54-6.55 in the 60 Meters. 10.01 Wind Legal 100 Meters. High School National Record Holder in the 100 Meters.

    2. Damiere Byrd (USCe)– 2011 High School National Champ in the 60 Meter Dash. Sylve was 2nd. 6.70 in the 60 meters, 10.41 Wind Legal in the 100 meters. Heard he had 1 catch and went 80 yards for a TD in South Carolina’s recent scrimmage. Likely will be their primary KR.

    ***3. Corey Grant (Aub)- Listed even though he isn’t eligible this season. Serious start/takeoff. Had 1.5-2 yards on Solomon Patton and DeMarcus Milliner at the 40 yard mark in the 2009 Alabama 6A 100 Meter Finals. Similar lead in the 2010 Final but was caught by Maudrecus Humphrey and Aaron Ernest at about 90 Meters. Also won the 2008 100 Meters and 2009 & 2010 200 Meters

    3. Andre Debose (Florida)-10.46 in the 100 Meters in High School. Gone if he gets a step

    4. Bradley Sylve (Bama)– 2nd in the Indoor Nationals to Damiere Byrd. 6.75 in the 60 Meters. 10.48 Wind-Legal 100 Meters

    5. Jarius Wright (Ark)- 4.27 hand-time 40 this Spring. Will probably run ~4.30-4.34 electronic at the combine

    6. Ronnie Wingo (Ark)- 4.27 hand-time 40 this Spring. Likely run ~4.31-4.36 electronic. Doesn’t run as fast on the football field unless out in the open.

    7. Chris Rainey (Florida)- Can beat Demps in the 40 ~35-40% of the time. Runs the lead leg on the Florida 4×100. Great start…but doesn’t maintain speed as well as Demps

    7. Bryce Sherman (USCe)- Dimunitive Speedster was the top Sprinter in North Carolina [1 of the top track states in the nation] in high school.

    9. Brandon Boykin (UGA)- Explosive. See his KR highlights. Don’t kick him the ball. Check out some of his high school basketball dunks.

    10. Branden Smith (UGA)- 10.56 100 Meters. 2nd in 2008 in the Georgia AAAA 100 Meter State Finals

    10. Onterrio McCalleb (Aub)- Florida 1A 100 & 200 Meter Champ in 2007

    Next In Line:
    Marquis Maze (Bama)-~4.35-4.39 estimate at the Combine
    Knile Davis (Ark)~4.36-4.39 estimate at the Combine. 4.29 hand-time this Spring
    Joe Adams (Ark)
    DeAndrew White (Bama)– top 2-3 in the SEC over 200 Meters but not an extremely fast starter and why the above guys would probably nip him over 40 yards
    Solomon Patton (Florida)
    DeMarcus Milliner (Bama)- Not sure if he’s still as fast as was in high school given his 15 additional pounds of muscle
    Raymond Sanders (Kent)
    Trent Richardson (Bama)-

    • Great comment – Thanks for your input and research.

    • Glad to see someone knows what’s up. The title says the fastest players in the SEC not the fastest who has played. Damiere is a speed demon. Bryce was a track guy playing football. He came to USC on track team and was cut so Spurrier let him on the football team cause he had extra scholarships that year but this year he didn’t have any extra scholarships so Sherman wasn’t able to get a scholarship this year so he left the team.

  • Bryce Sherman is no longer on SC’s team. He quit in July.

  • Damiere Byrd runs a 4.28 forty and will be tops on this list before long. This kid is a baller he has world class speed and can run advanced routes and catches everything. I am glad to see ACE get some love this guy is going to have a break out year this year.

    • Damiere Byrd runs a 4.28 forty and will be tops on this list before long.

      …after Demps and Rainey graduate, of course. ;)

      • I’ll take Byrd over Rainey in a race right now….but Demps is another story as he [Demps] is tied for the 2nd fastest Wind Legal 100 Meter Dash time ever for a football player. Trindon Holliday ran 10.00 with Demps and Jacoby Ford being tied at #2 at 10.01. Demps is also the 2009 & 2010 NCAA 60 Meter Champ and the 2009 100 Meter Champ.

        • 100m or 40 yd?? Rainey has been known to beat Demps in 40 yd. races on occasion. 100m, now that’s a different story. Rainey is just as quick (arguably quicker) than Demps initially, but he doesn’t have the same top gear as Demps.

  • Good article!!! I think more than anything it highlights the advantage that the SEC has over most other conferences, speed to burn. However, 40 times can be deceiving. It’s also their elusiveness in the open field when evading tacklers. Emmitt Smith had a 40 yard dash time of 4.55, but was almost impossible to tackle in the open field.

  • South Carolina has a couple of players faster than Ace. I guess they are now, officially, our secret weapons.

  • Damiere, Bruce and DJ?

    We’ll see. Seven more days!