If South Carolina fans think freshman receiver Ace Sanders is fast, they are going to have to invent another word to describe the speed of target Damiere Byrd.
The Timber Creek (N.J.) senior receiver/corner ran a digitally timed 4.26 40-yard dash at a Nike combine last spring, the fastest time ever run at one of those events. He routinely runs in the 4.3s and has posted a 10.4 in the 100-meter dash.
“He’s absolutely electrifying,” Timber Creek coach Rob Hinson said.
“He’s playing all over the field: quarterback, slot, outside receiver, single back, punt return, kick return and corner. He’s on the field the entire game with the exception of kickoff team. Everyone knows he’s getting the ball. The other coaching staff is screaming, 'Byrd, Byrd, Byrd,' and he’s still getting the job done.”
The 5-foot-10, 164-pounder may be one of the top targets remaining on South Carolina’s recruiting board. He is a playmaker who could make a big impact in a lot of different ways at the next level.
“I’d love to seem him on offense initially, and he’d probably stay there,” Hinson said. “But personally I think he could go pro as a Joe Haden-type guy at corner. Immediately coming in he’ll help you in the return game and will be ready to be a college receiver, either inside or outside.”
Byrd wants to play receiver in college.
“I’m not a physical specimen,” he said. “I’m not 6-4, 230. I’m a smaller guy that uses my speed and knowledge of the game to get open and make plays.”
Though Hinson said several schools are trying to reinsert themselves into his recruiting, Byrd, who carries at 3.4 GPA, has narrowed his finalists to South Carolina, Ole Miss, Florida and Iowa.
The Gamecocks and Hawkeyes have done a great job of expressing their interest in Byrd throughout the process, Hinson said. Both of those programs have a built-in advantage. USC quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus and a member of the Iowa staff are close friends with Hinson.
Ultimately, the decision will be made by Byrd. He plans to run track at the next level and eliminated any schools that didn’t offer the sport or the opportunity to double up.
Byrd has visited all of his finalists with the exception of Iowa. He will visit the Hawkeyes on Oct. 2 and USC a week later. He plans to make a decision sometime in late 2010.
Byrd said he has a great relationship with the coaches recruiting him at all four of his finalists and could see himself playing for any of them. The Gamecocks and the city of Columbia have made an impression on him throughout the process.
“It’s beautiful down there and the weather is so much better than New Jersey,” he said. “The campus itself I really like, and it’s not as fast paced as New Jersey.”