Head to Head: Gators RB Jeff Demps vs LSU RB Trindon Holliday
Over a gray and rainy weekend, two of the fastest football players ever (based on 100 meter times) competed in the 2009 SEC Outdoor Track & Field championships at Percy Beard Track in Gainesville. Jeff Demps (RB Florida) and Trindon Holliday (RB LSU) both competed in the 100 meter and 4x100 meter relay races. Holliday won the 100 meter final and became the SEC champion with a personal best of 10.01 seconds. Demps anchored the SEC champion Gator 4x 100 meter relay team that won with a time of 38.74. The #1 nationally ranked Gator Men’s Track and Field team finished second overall to the Arkansas Razorbacks who dominated the distance events to capture the overall SEC title. The Gator women won the SEC title in a dominating performance.
GatorTailgating extends congratulations to both the Gator Men’s and Women’s track teams for outstanding performances in the SEC championship; the competition was thrilling and after attending the meet, this author has a new appreciation for SEC track and field athletes. The SEC routinely dominates the world of Track and has produced countless Olympians. The Gator football team has also produced a great deal of track athletes, with Frankie Hammond (WR), Denote Thompson (WR), Wondy Pierre-Louis (CB), and Chris Rainey (RB) all also competing this year. LSU track athlete and Olympian Xavier Carter (WR) was also a great football player as well. But the real show for college football fans was when LSU running back Trindon Holliday and Florida running back Jeff Demps went head to head to see who is the SEC’s, nation’s, and world’s fastest college football player.
Unfortunately the weekend didn’t separate the two in the running for fastest football player ever, but it did showcase the greatest display of speed in the SEC. Holliday was able to win the 100 meter race in stunning fashion, running fastest time in the nation for 2009. In the preliminaries he ran a 10.11, and even slowed down the last 10 meters to smile and look around in a taunting fashion. Demps ran a 10.30 in the prelims and kept up with Holliday in the finals - until he pulled up after 50 meters when he tweaked his hamstring.
Demps and the Gators got the better of Holliday and the Tigers in the 4x100 meter relay final. The team of Jeremy Hall, Terell Wilks, Calvin Smith, and anchor Jeff Demps edged out the Holliday anchored Tiger team by 12 one-hundredths of a second! The Gators got out to a solid lead and Demps powered through the finish line not allowing the All-American sprinter Holliday to catch up.
Head to head, Demps beat Holliday in the relay, and Holliday beat Demps in the individual 100 meter race, although Demps got injured. Demps and Holliday are similar type sprinters, but are undersized, with Holliday at 5’5 and Demps at 5’8. Both have also ran a 10.01 100 meter, Holliday on Sunday and Demps in June at the Bejing Olympic Trials. Demps’ time at the trials was the fastest ever junior time in the World.
Both student-athletes also play running back and have a national championship ring on the gridiron. Yet on the football field they are decidedly different. Demps ran for 605 yards on 78 carries and scored seven touchdowns. He was primarily used out of the backfield and on screen plays. Holliday on the other hand is primarily a punt returner on the LSU special teams unit. He ran for only 114 yards on the 2008 season, but he had the second most kickoff return yards at LSU with 609. Holliday will be a senior this season, and in the NFL he would have to make it as a kick returner. Demps will only be a sophomore and looks to have a bright future as a tailback/slot receiver. However it’s pretty obvious that both are stars in both sports.
The other debate besides who is faster between the two, is whether they are football stars who run track- or track stars that happen to play football. For Holliday it seems the answer might be the former: he is a five-time All-American in track, was the 2007 national runner-up in the 100 meters, ran a 6.55 second 60 meter race for second best in indoor nationals and third best in the world for the year, and anchored the 2008 national champion 4 by 100 meter champion team. For Demps it seems to be a little bit closer, but he would tell you it is certainly the latter. He is the fastest ever junior runner in world history, and anchored the 2009 SEC champion 4 by 100 meter relay team. Yet he was also an SEC all-freshman selection and showed flashes of brilliance at running back.
Demps argues, “I'm actually a football player that runs track, I started off playing football, and I kind of got into that track thing in high school. Usually a football player that runs track is just kind of trying to stay fit or get a little faster for the football field. For me, it's different. I kind of got into the track mentality. Then I learned a lot of technique, and I've actually had some professional training to actually get me on the competitive track level."
It sounds like both debates will rage on throughout the 2009 season, but for now it is safe to say that Jeff Demps and Trindon Holliday are the “The world’s fastest football players ever.” Score one for the SEC.
Jeff Demps Warming Up:
Trindon Holliday Warming Up:
Ben Petitto is a columnist for GatorTailgating.com.