College Football’s Fastest Players of 2024 Include Barion Brown, Jaydon Blue, and Dequan Finn

    College Football's fastest returning players are a star-studded cast of players from around the country, yet most reside in central Florida heading into 2024.

    This summer, College Football Network aims to take you more in-depth than ever before, looking at every angle around the upcoming football season. As part of that deep dive into the 2024 season, college football’s fastest players take center stage.

    One of the most popular features from last season’s action was the speed-tracking data, which became increasingly popular throughout the weeks. With data at our fingertips, college football’s fastest players returning to college football began to take shape.

    College Football’s Fastest Players of 2024

    Courtesy of our friends at Reel Analytics, the fastest ball carriers are tracked from every game across the country. To find out more about RA and how they track their data, find them here: RAnalytics on Twitter | Reel Analytics via NetCapital

    Come back during the 2024 season to check out College Football’s Fastest Players from every week of the season.

    College Football’s Fastest Players of 2024: By the Numbers

    Before we get to the countdown, we did some tallying of last season’s weekly results to see where the top speeds lie. With the transfer portal, graduation, exhausted eligibility, and the NFL Draft, we removed the players who aren’t returning to the gridiron on Saturdays to give us the most extensive list of the fastest players we’ll see on the field this fall.

    Below are the breakdowns of each factor by how many times they appeared on the fastest players’ results.

    College Football’s Fastest Players: By Conference

    Big 12: 48
    Big Ten: 28
    ACC: 30
    SEC: 22
    FCS: 12
    AAC: 10
    Mountain West: 7
    Sun Belt: 4
    In the transfer portal: 4
    FBS Independents: 3
    Conference USA: 3
    Pac-12: 2
    MAC: 2

    College Football’s Fastest Players: By School

    UCF: 7 times
    Ohio State: 6 times
    Kansas: 5 times
    Oklahoma: 5 times
    Cal: 5 times
    Kansas State: 5 times
    Alabama: 4 times
    Colorado: 4 times
    Iowa State: 4 times
    Georgia Tech: 4 times
    Iowa: 4 times
    Kentucky: 4 times
    North Carolina: 4 times
    Northwestern: 4 times
    Six schools tied at 3 times

    College Football’s Fastest Players: By Position

    RB: 78
    WR: 55
    DB: 21
    QB: 18

    QB: Dequan Finn, Baylor (21.9 mph)
    RB: Jaydon Blue, Texas (22.3 mph)
    WR: Barion Brown, Kentucky (22.6 mph); Brandon Buckhaulter, UAB (22.6 mph)
    DB: Kapena Gushiken, Washington State (22.4 mph)

    College Football’s Fastest Players: Most Appearances

    TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State: 4 times
    Jalen Milroe, Alabama: 3 times
    Jaydn Ott, Cal: 3 times
    Dylan Edwards, Kansas State: 3 times
    Billy Bowman Jr., Oklahoma: 3 times
    RJ Harvey, UCF: 3 times

    College Football’s Fastest Players: Most Appearances at 21.0+ mph

    Dylan Edwards, Kansas State: 2 times
    Barion Brown, Kentucky: 2 times

    Honorable Mention Fastest Players Returning in 2024:

    • Jaylin Lucas, WR, Florida State (from Indiana): 21.0 mph (Week 13)
    • Leyton Smithson, WR, Washington State: 21.0 mph (Week 12)
    • Kobe Hudson, WR, UCF: 21.0 mph (Week 11)
    • Dominic Dutton, WR, Old Dominion: 21.0 mph (Week 9)
    • Chris Tyree, WR, Virginia (from Notre Dame): 21.0 mph (Week 9)
    • Mishael Powell, S, Miami (FL) (from Washington): 21.0 mph (Week 8)
    • Peny Boone, RB, UCF (from Toledo): 21.0 mph (Week 6)
    • Hunter Smith, RB, UL-Monroe: 21.0 mph (Week 1)
    • Conner Harrell, QB, North Carolina: 21.1 mph (Week 10)
    • Jaydn Ott, RB, Cal: 21.1 mph (Week 9)
    • Haynes King, QB, Georgia Tech: 21.1 mph (Week 8)
    • Kenny Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh: 21.1 mph (Week 4)
    • AJ Green, RB, Oklahoma State (from Arkansas): 21.1 mph (Week 3)
    • Ja’shon Benjamin, RB, Rutgers: 21.1 mph (Week 2)
    • Jeff Sims, QB, Arizona State (from Nebraska): 21.1 mph (Week 2)
    • Abraham Williams, CB, Portal (from Weber State): 21.1 mph (Week 1)
    • Ricky White, WR, UNLV: 21.2 mph (Week 12)
    • Tyler Huff, QB, Jacksonville State (from Furman): 21.2 mph (Week 8)
    • Abu Sama, RB, Iowa State: 21.2 mph (Week 6)
    • Jordan Watkins, WR, Ole Miss: 21.2 mph (Week 4)
    • Chrishon McCray, WR, Kent State: 21.2 mph (Week 1)
    • Kaiden Bennett, QB, Sacramento State: 21.3 mph (Week 13)
    • Malachi Hosley, RB, Penn: 21.3 mph (Week 10)

    T23) Jaquez Moore, RB, Duke: 21.4 mph (Week 8)

    Giving FSU a scare, Jaquez Moore sprinted past the Seminoles’ defense on the outside to a near-touchdown run early in the first quarter. Moore reached 21.4 mph after he turned the corner impressively against the Seminoles.

    T23) Javin Whatley, WR, Chattanooga: 21.4 mph (Week 10)

    Getting behind the defense, Javin Wahtley hauled in this second-quarter reception and torched the Furman defense by reaching 21.4 mph to go the distance back in the two school’s first meeting of 2023. It was a spark for the Mocs, who found themselves just short when the day was over, but Wahtley impressed.

    T23) Demond Claiborne, RB, Wake Forest: 21.4 mph (Week 7)

    In what was one of Wake Forest’s lone highlights from a Week 7 loss, Demond Claiborne flashed his high-end speed on a 95-yard kick return for a touchdown. Claiborne weaved through traffic in the middle before hitting the sidelines and reaching 21.4 mph to outrace every Virginia Tech defender last season.

    T23) Max Hairston, CB, Kentucky: 21.4 mph (Week 4)

    Kentucky CB Max Hairston impressed in 2023, picking off passes left and right. He used his incredible instincts and elite athleticism to make highlight-reel plays look easy. Hairston enters the 2024 season on everyone’s radar after plays like this pick-six against Vanderbilt when he hit 21.4 mph became the norm from him last year.

    T23) Tobias Merriweather, WR, Cal: 21.4 mph (Week 3)

    You can’t guard a receiver with the size/speed combination that Tobias Merriweather has for long and Central Michigan found that out the hard way last season. Merriweather hit 21.4 mph on this touchdown reception at 6’4″, 204 pounds, mind you. Cal will hope Merriweather brings that same speed and size mismatch to the ACC this fall after he transferred in from Notre Dame.

    T23) Dylan Edwards, RB, Kansas State: 21.4 mph (Week 1)

    What a debut performance it was for Dylan Edwards with the Colorado Buffaloes in 2023. On this reception out of the backfield, Edwards hit 21.4 mph and sped past the entire TCU defense. Though Edwards won’t be suiting up for Colorado in 2024, the Horned Frogs will still be scared of his presence as he’s set to continue tormenting Big 12 defenses with Kansas State this fall.

    T17) Ashton Jeanty, RB, Boise State: 21.5 mph (Week 13)

    One of the toughest backs to take down in the open field, Ashton Jeanty deserves more national praise. Despite torching defenses with touchdowns like this one that saw him hit 21.5 mph in 2023, Jeanty still receives little praise nationally. That should auto-correct itself in 2024.

    T17) Cartevious Norton, RB, Charlotte: 21.5 mph (Week 9)

    It took him a minute, but Cartevious Norton broke through the Baylor defense. After shaking an arm tackle, Norton outran the entire Bears defense and hit 21.5 mph in the process. Norton has since traded his Iowa State colors for greener pastures in North Carolina, transferring to Charlotte for the 2024 season.

    T17) Elic Ayomanor, WR, Stanford: 21.5 mph (Week 7)

    You don’t beat an entire defense for 97 yards from scrimmage without real speed and that’s just what Elic Ayomanor did. Ayomanor burned his defensive back off the line, nabbed a slant pattern that was intended just to get some breathing room for his offense, and ran past the entire Colorado defense for 97 yards, hitting 21.5 mph as his max speed along the way.

    T17) Sone Ntoh, RB, Monmouth: 21.5 mph (Week 5)

    Torching Lehigh, Sone Ntoh and Monmouth ran wild in Week 5 last season. Ntoh topped the charts at 21.5 mph on this long touchdown run that saw him simply outrun everyone on the field.

    T17) Robert Lewis, WR, Auburn: 21.5 mph (Week 3)

    Going 98 yards is not easy, but when you possess the speed that Robert Lewis has, it sure looks like it. Lewis topped the charts at 21.5 mph on this near-record touchdown for Georgia State last season. Now, it’s Auburn fans that will hope this speed is on their side in 2024.

    T17) Shilo Sanders, S, Colorado: 21.5 mph (Week 3)

    That’s one way to put your name on the map as Shilo Sanders took a pick-six the distance in the dramatic victory against Colorado State. Sanders hit 21.5 mph on the touchdown and the fever pitch of excitement hit all-time highs for the Buffaloes last season.

    T14) TreVeyon Henderson, RB, Ohio State: 21.6 mph (Week 12)

    Playing like a true RB1 type of runner we anticipated, TreVeyon Henderson did more than impress last season. In Week 12, Henderson hit 21.6 mph when he ran past the Minnesota defense on his 75-yard touchdown run. This mark was the fastest of Henderson’s three appearance in the list of weekly fastest players in 2023.

    T14) Rayuan Lane III, DB, Navy: 21.6 mph (Week 11)

    Making waves with his near-100-yard interception return for a touchdown, Rayuan Lane III iced the game for Navy against UAB in Week 11 last season. He picked off a pass and Lane then hit 21.6 mph on his return.

    T14) Jordan Waters, RB, NC State: 21.6 mph (Week 7)

    On a carry that he almost didn’t need to, Jordan Waters put forth a truly special moment when he reached 21.6 mph for Duke. Riding their defense against NC State, Waters finally broke the Wolfpack defense with a carry up the middle that saw him bounce slightly outside and completely torch the NC State defense with his blazing speed.

    It’s only fitting that Waters will suit up for the Wolfpack this fall after impressing with this speed last season.

    T11) Chandler Rogers, QB, Cal: 21.7 mph (Week 6)

    Long-striding his way to the end zone, then-North Texas QB Chandler Rogers gave Navy a taste of their own medicine in Week 6. Rogers skirted through the middle of the Midshipmen’s defense and blitzed through the second and third levels by reaching his max speed of 21.7 mph halfway through the 75-yard touchdown run.

    T11) Eric Singleton, WR, Georgia Tech: 21.7 mph (Week 10)

    Eric Singelton and Georgia Tech ran by Virginia in Week 10 last season, literally. On this long touchdown pass, Haynes King hit a streaking Singleton, who then hit 21.7 mph on the way to the end zone.

    T11) Squirrel White, WR, Tennessee: 21.7 mph (Week 10)

    It was quite the display of athleticism and speed for the entire Tennessee Volunteers team in Week 10 last saeson. Squirrel White caught a seemingly simple crosser moving left to right and outran the entire UConn defense. White torched the Huskies by reaching 21.7 mph.

    T8) Marcus Yarns, RB, Delaware: 21.8 mph (Week 9)

    There is little defense for the speed that Marcus Yarns put on display in Week 9 of the 2023 season. Delaware’s running back took a screen pass the distance by hurdling over an arm tackle and outrunning the entire Towson defense with 21.8 mph as his top speed.

    T8) Harrison Waylee, RB, Wyoming: 21.8 mph (Week 4)

    Harrison Waylee was coveted in the transfer portal during the 2022-23 offseason and his speed was certainly a reason why. He impressed for Wyoming with this long touchdown run in which he topped the charts at 21.8 mph back in Week 4 for the Cowboys.

    T8) Barion Brown, WR, Kentucky: 21.8 mph (Week 1)

    Barion Brown is fast, we all know this. But after his kickoff return touchdown in the season-opening victory against Ball State, we know just how fast he truly is. That mark topped out at 21.8 mph for Brown, his second appearance in the top 10 returning players for 2024.

    T6) Isaiah Sategna, WR, Arkansas: 21.9 mph (Week 3)

    Both of Arkansas’ first two touchdowns against BYU in Week 3 came with impressive displays of athleticism and speed. Isaiah Sategna topped out at 21.9 mph on his punt return for a touchdown early against the Cougars last season.

    T6) Dequan Finn, QB, Baylor: 21.9 mph (Week 6)

    A long mesh point and a perfect read-option keeper from then-Toledo QB Dequan Finn was ultimately the difference-maker in Week 6. Finn pulled the ball and sprinted past the entire UMass defense, hitting 21.9 mph and giving the Rockets the lead back in the third quarter. Baylor will hope Finn has brought this speed to Waco this fall.

    5) Dylan Edwards, RB, Kansas State: 22.0 mph (Week 2)

    Back playing for Colorado and for the second week in a row at the time, Dylan Edwards checked in on the list of fastest ball carriers. Edwards outdid himself on this carry, reaching a whopping 22.0 mph against Nebraska, topping his already illustrious mark of 21.4 mph he reached in his first game with the Buffaloes last season.

    4) Jaydon Blue, RB, Texas: 22.3 mph (Week 13)

    It was Week 13 against Texas Tech that Jaydon Blue flashed the true speed he possesses. Blue torched the Texas Tech defense on a long touchdown run from the very first play of the second quarter, hitting 22.3 mph.

    3) Kapena Gushiken, DB, Washington State: 22.4 mph (Week 6)

    He may not have even needed to reach his top speed, but Kapena Gushiken’s 22.4 mph on his interception return for a touchdown in Week 6 last season was certainly impressive. He tipped a Dante Moore pass to himself before nabbing the pick at the 12-yard line, sprinting past Moore and putting his Washington State Cougars team back on top, reaching max speed nearly right away.

    T1) Barion Brown, WR, Kentucky: 22.6 mph (Week 13)

    Narrowly missing out on the fastest speed we’ve seen this season, Barion Brown sparked the Kentucky offense, literally, in Week 13. His kick return saw him reach 22.6 mph and brought life back into the Wildcats. Life they would use to come back against Louisville for a much-needed victory.

    T1) Brandon Buckhaulter, WR, UAB: 22.6 mph (Week 6)

    Back in Week 6 of 2023, if you blinked, you would’ve missed UAB Blazers WR Brandon Buckhaulter. Taking a jet sweep from right to left, Buckhaulter came right at the TV angle, blew by USF defenders, and had more than enough speed to celebrate his 75-yard touchdown run from the 20-yard line he’d left the defense behind so far.

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