Jeff Demps may have the speed of an Olympic silver medalist. But even before finding his way to London to compete in the 4×100-meter relay at this summer’s games, Demps was a standout running back for the University of Florida.
On Friday, the Patriots made Demps the newest member of their team. The former Gator running back chose New England after close to 10 teams, including the New York Jets, made attempts to sign the speedster.
Demps’ speed is one of a kind and he could provide some much-needed depth to the Patriots backfield. He may be diminutive, listed at just 5-foot-7, but he did manage a very successful career in Gainesville, Fla. In four years with the program, Demps ran for 2,470 yards and scored 23 touchdowns for the Gators. More important than anything, though, Demps averaged better than 5.8 yards per carry in each of his four years with the team.
His speed didn’t only impact the offense, though, as Demps was also a valuable contributor to the Gators special teams unit. On 20 kickoff returns in his career at Florida, Demps averaged 28.5 yards and scored one touchdown.
So while Demps’ addition to the Patriots roster wouldn’t be considered a “big splash,” he still offers a great deal of value to a franchise seeking any and every advantage possible.
Demps could be a viable option out of the backfield and he’s had success in the passing game as well, hauling in 57 passes for 481 yards over his career. But while the Patriots have plenty of weapons already, it certainly couldn’t hurt to add potentially the fastest man in the NFL.
Although his ability as a running back could have its benefits, adding to the league’s 29th-ranked kick return game is much more important. Demps’ speed could offer a new dimension on kick returns for the Patriots and provide them with a legitimate threat on special teams — something they haven’t had in a few years.
So, with a great deal of potential for the Patritos, where do you think Jeff Demps will have the biggest impact in 2012?
Photo via Facebook/Jeff Demps