Kevin Peterson considers himself fast, which fits, considering he’s one of the Big 12’s rising stars at cornerback.
Still, some races aren’t worth running, even for Peterson.
So it was one spring practice, when he crashed into the backfield on a blitz and saw Tyreek Hill take a handoff.
“It was an option,” Peterson said. “I had the quarterback, and I saw Tyreek take off up the middle. I turned around to start running and it was like, ‘Ah, no, he’s gone. I can see it.’”
Now you see him...
We’ve heard about Hill’s already legendary speed.
How he broke OSU’s 60-meter dash record twice, with his first two meet runs as a Cowboy track team member. He finished second in the 60 at the Big 12 Indoor Championships and won the 200. As a high school track standout in Georgia, he ran the 200 in 20.14 — the second fastest prep mark... ever. And for more perspective, that time would have been enough to place sixth that year at the 2012 London Olympics.
His 10.19 in the 100 matched the fastest time in the country his senior year. He won state titles in the 100, 200 and long jump.
All that is on record, as well as Hill’s teasing Twitter handle: @ImFasterThanYa.
But how fast — and effective — is Hill on the football field?
As Peterson and others attest, plenty fast.
“He’s good,” Peterson said. “He’s going to be really good for us next season. I’ve seen it firsthand on the field.”
This isn’t the case of a track athlete trying to transition to football. Hill is a football player first.
Cowboys receiver Blake Webb has witnessed Hill’s burst on track and turf.
“I don’t know how else to say it,” said Webb, who also ran sprints with the track squad. “He’s got Olympic speed.
“The first time we had a track workout, I came back to football and told everyone, ‘This kid’s a freak. Y’all don’t understand. You’ll just have to see it for yourself.’ And you do have to see it for yourself. He’s just gone. And he’s got football skills. He can stop and cut on a dime.”
That’s why Hill will enter the season carrying the Big 12’s best newcomer buzz.
OSU’s biggest dilemma is how to best utilize Hill’s skills. During the early part of spring workouts, Hill worked at receiver. Later, he shifted to running back.
During the recruiting process, coaches weren’t sure what they were getting in Hill, who had 101 carries and 32 receptions at Garden City Community College.
“We just thought we had an athlete,” said running backs coach Jemal Singleton. “We really did. The big part for us coaches was, ‘OK, what do we do? How do we use him? How do we get him involved?’
“You just recruit really good players and find a good place to fit him. And as coaches, find a way to get the ball in their hands.”
Cowboys coaches know they must feed him the ball, with a mindset of some 15 times a game. His potential value to the offense is massive, clearly as a big-play threat, but also in opening things up for the deep collection of wideouts and in easing pressure from quarterback J.W. Walsh.
Oh, and in stressing defenses.
“You’ve got a guy who’s got some speed,” Singleton said. “And there are some things in this offense that lend to getting the ball to a guy with speed in open space and put him in one-on-one matchups and let him run away from some people.”