Demps has Big Debut

We knew he had blazing fast speed, and we thought we would get a glimpse, but never like this. In his debut wearing the Orange and Blue, freshman running back Jeff Demps dazzled the crowd at The Swamp. He only touched the ball twice, but that was enough to get a glimpse of what the future holds.

In the third quarter, Jeff Demps took a handoff from Tim Tebow, got past the line of scrimmage and saw nothing but daylight in front of him. Over the next 60 yards, he had only one man to beat, and it was a foregone conclusion that he wasn't going to catch the speedy back from South Lake.

"I saw him from my side," Demps said. "I said, ‘I can't let him catch me.' Once I got past him, I knew I was home free."

Demps knew he was going to get a touch or two coming into the season opener, but never in his wildest dreams did he think he would break a 62-yarder for a touchdown that stretched an already comfortable Gator lead to 35 points.

"I did not expect it at all," he said. "I just thought I'd come out and have some fun and play hard. We have a bunch of running backs that are out here competing and having fun. We just want to come together and make big plays. It's nice to do it, but I didn't have to."

Teammate Chris Rainey also broke a long run for a touchdown, and the two together gave Gator fans something to look forward to during the season. The scary thing is that according to Demps, he's got another gear that he hasn't showed off yet.

"I got to show it off a little bit today," Demps said. "I haven't opened up in a while, but maybe next week, I'll have another speed. I was running fast, but I knew I could run faster."

Demps was also on the field as part of the punt unit when Brandon James broke loss for a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown.

"It was incredible," he said. "He made five guys miss. I was trying to get out in front and block for him, but he didn't need it. So I just watched him go."

Demps arrived in Gainesville a few days after the rest of the freshman class arrived because he was out in Oregon trying to land a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. Having that experience so close to his first game in The Swamp, he was able to compare the two similar, but different, atmospheres.

"Both of them are crazy, but it's a lot more here," Demps said. "There're 90,000 out there cheering and pumping you up. You get this adrenaline rush and you just want to play. At the trials, you've got the crowd behind you too, but you're so much in your zone that you really don't pay attention to them because you have to go out and do what you have to do."

Questions or comments? Contact's Chris Chmielenski

Fightin Gators Top Stories