So, You Think You're Faster Than an Ohio State Football Player?

By Kyle Rowland on April 7, 2014 at 3:00p

So, you think you’re faster than an Ohio State football player? Well, Malcolm Branson doesn’t think he’s faster than just any Buckeye – he believes he can beat Dontre Wilson in a foot race.

Branson, a senior criminology major, blew away the field at Ohio State’s third annual student appreciation day on Saturday. It’s almost as if he heeded Urban Meyer’s message to Tom Herman: find someone faster than Dontre.

“It’s possible,” Wilson said. “But I’m not going to let that happen.”

In front of a boisterous crowd of approximately 2,500 peers, Branson ran by far the fastest 40, according to the naked eye, putting Wilson on notice.  

“I ran track [in high school]. I could have played football, but I didn't. That was a mistake,” Branson said. “It was awesome to get in front of the students and the fans, just to show my speed. It felt pretty good. I knew I had tough competition, so I knew I had to try hard.” 

Sunshine and blue skies are forecasted for Saturday’s Scarlet and Gray game, which could lead to a surge in attendance. Ohio State drew its record crowd of 95,722 in 2009 thanks in large part to postcard weather. But this time, the revelry won’t end with the glorified practice.

In an attempt to better connect relations with everyday students, Meyer made a full-court press this spring. Past student appreciation days allowed the student body to view practice and then mingle with players and coaches at the conclusion of a scrimmage. This year’s event included a flag football game, students participating in team drills and the semifinals of the fastest student contest.

“The one group of people that I think often get overlooked are the students,” Meyer said. “That’s why we always do something for them. We want students to take ownership of this team. That’s real important.”

“Will you believe me if I tell you? 4.28.”– Malcolm Branson

At approximately 4 p.m. Saturday, Branson and a handful of other students will race their famous classmates, Wilson and Devin Smith, a Big Ten track and field champion. Also in the field will be a Spider-Man dressing student who beat Johnnie Dixon, though it looked like the freshman receiver wasn’t running his hardest.

But it was Branson who stole the show. His blazing 40-yard dash left some players wide-eyed while director of football operations Fernando Lovo let out a “Wow.”

“Believe it or not, some of the times that we have here are even faster than we had when we did this at Florida. It’s pretty impressive,” Lovo said after preliminaries. “These kids were unbelievable. It was really impressive.”

Branson graduated from Massillon Perry, where he competed on the track team and is among the fastest runners in school history.

How fast?

“Will you believe me if I tell you?” Branson said, smiling. “4.28.”

He won’t be running a sub-4.3 40 come Saturday. But Branson displayed elite speed and proved he’s capable of competing with Wilson, who’s been clocked at 4.33. Confidence and belief can carry people, and Branson isn’t lacking in either department.

His appearance on such a big stage is its own upset story in a way. During his sophomore year at Perry, Branson wasn’t even running 12-second 100-meter dashes. Hours in the weight room and training on the track enhanced Branson’s speed, trimming a couple seconds off his time.  

“I was actually slow,” he said, with a sense of disbelief.  

Branson said Saturday will be hectic, but he’s excited about the opportunity. His family and friends will be in attendance due to Meyer’s long held conviction that students should be the owners of their college football teams. It’s a belief that took shape at Bowling Green and has been part of Meyer’s pitch ever since.

In an era of declining student attendance, access to the program has never been more important.

“Let’s have some fun in front of these students,” Meyer told his players. “This doesn’t happen anywhere else, and I want you to let them know how much you appreciate them.”


Comments Show All Comments

route4buckeye's picture

Lol. I thought this about a new walk on making strides in Spring ball.

flying-banana's picture

I think it might be.

+4 HS
Knarcisi's picture

Ala Lou Brown ... "Get him a uniform."

+9 HS
hit_the_couch's picture

I should get a crack at it; i'm the fastest SOB in my apartment building.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

+4 HS
MichaelJ721984's picture

Im the fastest one in my building too. By building I mean house. And I live alone. Look out Devin!

Michigan sucks.

+11 HS
BuckeyeinSavannah's picture

I know I can beat my wife and two year old daughter any day.

+6 HS
johnarmitage's picture

So when will you stop beating your wife?


+10 HS
BeijingBucks's picture

wait til your daughter can punch back ya dirtbag  :P

edit: haha.. john beat me to it

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

+9 HS
saevel25's picture

It would be awesome to see Wilson go down to a student. 

Mean Mr Mustard's picture

If he comes close to Wilson, suit him up.

Mean Mr Mustard's picture

I have also said that they should have a student powerlifting competition in the weight room or at Westside Barbell

+3 HS
doodah_man's picture

I may have missed it but, what does he get (other than Dontre's job) if he wins? Just bragging rights? Should get to watch a game on the sideline or something. This is awesome and great for the students.

Jim "DooDah" Day

"If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.” --Wilbur Wright, 1910

+2 HS
Barnsey69's picture

He might win, but he's not a football player, so no soup for him!

Probably get him laid tho.

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes- 2014 UNDISPUTED National Champions!

+8 HS
Horvath22's picture

If a freshman student wins, he might get an invite from the Boss.

brandonbauer87's picture

I think an offer to walk-on would be cool. There's gotta be room for one more. Plus, he's a senior so it's only for a year. 

+2 HS
One Bad Buckeye's picture

Dontre will be wearing pads, no?

"I'm One Bad Buckeye, and I approve this message."

ArizonaBuckeye's picture

I can chug a beer really fast...

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you." -Woody Hayes-

+6 HS
southbuc's picture

Did wilson cut his hair?

gumtape's picture

I could win if the race was mario kart Wii.

High and tight boo boo

+2 HS
Knarcisi's picture

May be fast, but football?  Ala Lou Brown again, "You might run like Hays, but you hit like shit."

+3 HS
cw823's picture

Why not include Samuel?

+3 HS
NuttyBuckeye's picture

Agree!  I have read that Urban thinks Samuel may be the fastest Buckeye... Would love to see him run Saturday!!

Also, if any of these students can stay within a step of Dontre, they DESERVE an offer to walk on!  That dude is electric!

What's round on the ends and high in the middle? Tell me if you know!

IGotAWoody's picture

I'm pretty fast, my wife tells me so almost every night!

I'll be here all week. Tip yer waitresses.

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” ~Carl Rogers

+9 HS
buckeyedude's picture

So the OSU student body is faster than the Florida Gator student body? This changes everything.



+4 HS
BuckeyeStrong2's picture

cue ESPN making excuses in 3...2...1...


+3 HS
Ghbuck23's picture

That would be funny, No SEC speed for the students

Win Baby , Win

+2 HS
Kingbuck12's picture

No talk of James Clark?? I'm starting to worry about him and his nagging injury. Really hoping to see his wheels some day.  


+2 HS
BuckeyeStrong2's picture

Are they doing this in the shoe after the Spring Game? I would like to check it out


cbtrack692's picture

I believe they are actually doing it at halftime.

+2 HS
Scarlet_Buckeye's picture

Anyone know why this Malcolm Branson didn't play football in college? (and before some wise arse jumps in... yes I know track speed is different than football speed; and no I'm not suggesting he signs up & plays at OSU - rather, I'm purely curious because the article did mention "I could have played football, but I didn't. That was a mistake”; therefore I'm curious as to why he did not)

+1 HS
CarolinaBuck's picture

Kind of got to wonder what's in this for Dontre. If he wins, he's supposed to. If he loses, then.....

cplunk's picture

This is fun and I'm glad they're doing it.

That said, stop with the "if he wins put him on the team stuff". Speed is a tool. Just one tool. Just because a guy owns a hammer doesn't make him a carpenter.

stantmann's picture

Thad Matta needs to do something similar, find someone who can hit a jumpshot - In a school with 50,000 kids, actually, probably a school with 100 kids, it wouldn't be hard to find someone who shoots better than the Buckeyes do.