Florida's Demps picks track career over football

Florida's Demps picks track career over football

Published Jan. 12, 2012 8:42 p.m. ET

Florida running back Jeff Demps is giving up his football career to focus on track and the 2012 Olympics.

Demps wants to vie for a spot on the U.S. track and field team. So he won't attend any college football all-star games or take part in any NFL draft workouts.

''I can have the mindset of a full-time track guy now,'' Demps said.

The senior started training with Florida's track team this week and hopes to return to competition at the Virginia Tech Elite Meet next month. He plans to lose about 15 pounds off his 190-pound playing weight.


Demps finished his career with 2,470 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns. He had 569 yards rushing and six touchdowns this past season. He also was a dangerous kickoff returner, averaging 28.8 yards a return in his four-year career.

On the track, Demps is a four-time national champion. Demps is the two-time defending NCAA Indoor 60-meter champion. He showed Olympic potential when he set a 100-meter junior world record (10.01 seconds) at the 2008 Olympic Trials, challenging Olympian Tyson Gay stride for stride in the heat.

Training with Florida this season should help Demps' Olympic chances, especially working with head coach Mike Holloway. Holloway is an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic Team and mainly works with sprinters and hurdlers.

''What has made Jeff unique is that Jeff has always done very, very good things in track and field while doing lifting and other things that football players do,'' Holloway said. ''What that tells me is that Jeff is a very special guy. If you can run 9.9 (in the 100 meters) and run 6.5 (in the 60 meters) and do the things he has done, training as a football-slash-track guy, what happens when he is just a track guy?''