- David Ching, ESPN Staff Writer
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- Rashard Robinson was in the middle of complimenting freshman receiver D.J. Chark when a reporter informed him that LSU coach Les Miles proclaimed Chark as possibly the fastest player on the team.
That's when Robinson's expression turned into a dismissive smirk.
"He's not the fastest," the sophomore cornerback said, shaking his head.
So who is?
"I'm faster," Robinson chuckled. "[Or] Avery Peterson. But D.J., he's up there. He really is up there."
Since Miles made his initial statement about Chark's speed prior to preseason camp, he has revised his list of fastest Tigers a time or two. First it expanded to Chark and freshman tailback Leonard Fournette. Most recently, Miles said it could be any of at least four players.
After redshirt freshman receiver Peterson -- the younger brother of former LSU and current NFL speedster Patrick -- caught a touchdown pass in last Wednesday's scrimmage, Miles added Peterson to his list of candidates.
"It comes to mind that there are three fastest guys on our team right now and I just don't know which one really is the fastest guy on our team," Miles said. "So I think Leonard's pretty fast, I think Chark is pretty fast, I think Avery's pretty fast. I think I missed one. So maybe there's four fastest guys on the team."
Maybe it was Robinson that Miles was forgetting. Maybe it was freshman safety Jamal Adams, whom Chark included among the contenders. And it might have been someone like Travin Dural, who was a state-champion sprinter in high school.
On a roster that features as much athleticism as LSU's, it is no surprise that there is a contentious debate over which player is actually the fastest. For his part, Chark thinks Miles' initial assessment might actually be correct, but even he is willing to concede that the competition is close enough that the title could change hands frequently.
"Of course I feel like I'm going to win, but in reality it's all who gets the best takeoff at the start," Chark said, listing Robinson, Fournette and Adams as his top competition. "We have some pretty fast players here and I learned that from every day at workouts and sprints. We really have a fast team, so I think the fastest player is really who's having the best day that day."
Even Fournette, who outweighs the other contenders by at least 25 pounds, if not more?
"Yeah," Chark said, "Leonard can move."
10hMark Schlabach and Sharon Katz