ATLANTA — If Auburn and UCF were running a track meet on Monday, Scott Frost thinks Adrian Killins Jr. might win.
After all, he was one of the top sprinters in the state of Florida as a senior at Daytona Beach’s Mainland High. He won the Class 3A state championship in the 200-meter dash in both his junior and senior year. He also made the finals of the 100-meter dash both those years, finishing second in 2015 and sixth in 2016.
In the preliminaries of that 2015 100-meter dash, UCF's sophomore running back ran a time of 10.55 seconds, which was well ahead of then-Ed White high senior and current Auburn corner Javaris Davis, who is widely considered one of the fastest players the Tigers have (and did beat Killins in the same race the year before).
“He beat JD? So he must be able to run,” Auburn safety Stephen Roberts said. “But field speed is different than track speed. That’s what I think.”
But Monday’s Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium will not be a track meet. That’s why Killins, despite not being made available to reporters in Atlanta this week, has been a topic of conversation every day.
“SEC football, they don’t have a lot of speed, honestly,” Killins told the Orlando Sentinel on Dec. 14. “Auburn hasn’t seen any speed like we have here. So I would say they’re in for a rude awakening, because UCF football, we’re UCF fast and UCF fierce."
Frost addressed those comments again on Sunday.
"We try to teach our kids not to say anything that's going to rattle the other team up. But A.K. is confident," Frost said. "We talked to him, and I'm glad he's confident. But I'm pretty sure Auburn is seeing a lot of fast guys this year with the teams they have played."
Auburn linebacker Deshaun Davis did say Killins, who leads UCF with 762 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 112 attempts, is “probably the fastest person we’ve seen this year out of the backfield.” Roberts likened the 5-foot-8, 158-pound sophomore to former Mississippi State running back Brandon Holloway, who played a similar size.
But Monday’s meeting between Auburn and UCF will be a football game, not a track meet.
“When you see him run, he has a right to say that he’s fast. So I mean, we respect his speed, we respect his game. He’s a very talented running back,” Davis said. “We just got to keep him bottled up, and when 11 guys get to the ball, we’ll see what the response is.”