One Fast Byrd

West Helena linebacker Najel Byrd (6-1, 206, 4.48), who is getting a look at safety at Houston Nutt's Football Camp this week, shows off his speed Monday afternoon while winning a fastest man tournament.

No matter what happens the rest of his football career, Najel Byrd will always remember Monday afternoon.

That's when the West Helena senior linebacker-tailback and track star learned the title of the fastest young man in the Houston Nutt Football Camp.

Byrd (6-0, 206), who ran a 4.48 handheld 40-yard dash on Sunday night, won the title over seven other challengers who had the fastest times by just nipping Jacksonville wideout Marcus King.

"I've been hitting the weights and getting bigger, but my track coach has helped me keep my speed," Byrd said. "This was a lot of fun today. I had a lot of confidence I could do it."

Dardanelle sophomore C.J. Chaten and Fayetteville's Jake Arnold were not able to particpate due to injuries, but each of the eight races was won by just a slight margin.

Byrd bested Murray (Ky.) High's Jon-Jon Wilson, King outraced Brinkley's D.J Washington, Germantown (Tenn.) speedster Greg Gatson downed Camden Fairview's Eric Blatch and Hunter Miller nipped Helena quarterback E.J. Miller.

King then beat Gatson and Byrd beat Miller to set up the championship while Gatson nipped Miller for third in consolation race.

It was a nice win after a tough season for West Helena.

"It was a bumpy season for us, too many ups and downs," Byrd said. "The way I look at it is that if my team didn't do good, then I didn't do good. Our whole offensive line is coming back this year so I expect us to be ready."

Byrd, had 96 tackles from his linebacker spot a year ago, but projects as a safety in college and has been working there in camp this week.

He does not have any offers yet, but says that he is receiving interest from Arkansas, LSU Tennessee and Vanderbilt among others.

I have watched LSU, especially Arkansas and Kansas State growing up," Byrd said. "I would love to play for any of them."


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