Utah cornerback Javelin Guidry already is regarded as the fastest player in the modern history of Ute football, defined as the 25-plus years that coach Kyle Whittingham has worked in the program.

He's determined to be even faster.

Guidry devoted part of the winter to training and competing as a sprinter, applying the logic that such conditioning would help him in football. “Speed,” Guidry said this week, “is everything.”

That’s a good starting point in the 5-foot-9, 190-pound Guidry’s job description as a slot corner, anyway. He’s charged with covering receivers of all shapes and sizes and making tackles, playing almost a linebacker’s role at times in Utah’s standard scheme that uses five defensive backs.

RED-WHITE GAME
At Rice-Eccles Stadium


When: Saturday, 11 a.m.
Admission: free.
TV: Pac-12 Networks.

Guidry tied Auburn receiver Anthony Schwartz for the fastest 60-meter time (6.59) seconds by a college football player this past winter, while winning his race in the Washington Invitational in Seattle. He qualified for the USA Track & Field Indoor Championships in New York and finished sixth, as the top collegiate runner — after not having competed since high school in 2017.

“It was a great experience,” Guidry said. “It was a blessing to be able to do it again. … I know what I'm capable of. I could have done better if I fully trained for it, but just being able to go out there and compete with those guys in the finals was great.”

Steve Odom, a receiver/kick returner and track star for Utah in the early 1970s, likely is the only former Ute whose speed ever could have rivaled Guidry's.

“His linear speed is elite; Olympic-like,” said Utah cornerbacks coach Sharrieff Shah. “He wants to compete. He never gets tired of getting faster.”

Guidry's love of football is among the attributes Shah values; he enjoys running almost as much.

Guidry became a state champion in the 100 meters in both Texas and California, having spent part of his high school years in Texas, where his mother attended medical school. Because Utah lacks a men's track and field program, Guidry ran unattached in Seattle in January and won the 60 meters in 6.59 seconds. Schwartz also was clocked in that time in a February meet at Clemson.

Schwartz earned praise last season as being more than merely a fast runner. Same story with Guidry, who can bench-press 300 pounds multiple times, according to Shah, who labels him “abnormally strong for his size.”

That strength helps him as much as his speed in coverage and tackling. Pro Football Focus' evaluators gave Guidry outstanding grades last season in each category and Shah believes he can become a “menacing” tackler.

“Not all track guys like contact,” Shah said. “Not all track guys are built the way that he’s built. … He’s incredibly smart and he loves football – he doesn’t like it, he loves it.”

Guidry is known to walk off the practice field and send text messages to Shah, asking what the film says he could have done better on certain plays. “I just want to work on the mental aspect of my game,: said Guidry, who will concentrate on preparing for his junior year of football this summer, rather than compete as a sprinter.

He may re-enter that arena next winter, after his sixth-place finish in the USATF meet was disappointing to him. Shah reminded him, “Buddy, these people make money doing this. You’re an amateur.”

Maybe so, but that level of competitiveness and high expectations for himself are good traits. “You love that he is so driven,” Shah said. “I just love that kid. He never settles.”