2011 SEC Media Days: Will Demps return?

Florida football star Jeff Demps just might be the fastest player in college football, so it’s no surprise the 5-foot-8, 188-pound running back also doubles as a world-class sprinter.

After message board rumors recently surfaced that Demps was considering skipping his senior season to focus on professional track, his future with Florida became a key topic at SEC Media Days 2011.

Will Demps return or won’t he?

Florida head coach Will Muschamp made it real simple on Wednesday: He fully expects Demps will.

“Demps is running with the U.S. National Team in Italy,” Muschamp said. “He and I will meet next week to see when he will join our football team in August. I’ll update you once he and I speak and talk about that. I expect him to be a part of our football team.”

Seemingly leaving open the possibility that Demps could still potentially skip his senior season to focus on professional track, Muschamp clarified things a little when asked a follow-up question.

“Based on our conversations, he’ll be back,” Muschamp said defensively. “I don’t deal in rumors or message boards … When I deal with people, I like to deal eyeball to eyeball, talk to them face to face. That’s been hard to do with some of the traveling he’s been doing. I ain’t never been to Italy.”

Demps, who was a key member of the Florida team that narrowly missed out on an NCAA title in outdoor track and field this spring, has been competing in Italy for the USA.

He is one of 10 sprinters trying to qualify for the USA 4×100 relay team that will compete in the 2011 IAAF World Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea.

The USA will trim the roster of sprinters to six (four starters and two alternates) on Aug. 8.

Should Demps qualify, the World Championships last from Aug. 27 to Sept. 4, meaning Demps could conceivably miss Florida’s season opener on Sept. 3 against Florida Atlantic.

Thus, it’s seems like it’s not so much a matter of if Demps will play football for Florida in 2011, but when.

The other athletes competing to make the six-man roster are Trell Kimmons, Mike Rodgers, Justin Gatlin, Walter Dix, Darvis Patton, Ivory Williams, Travis Padgett, Maurice Mitchell and Jeremy Dodson.

Demps has rushed for 1,901 yards on 269 carries in his career at Florida, with 17 touchdowns. He has also caught 41 passes for 309 yards and one touchdown.