Jeff Demps to play football this season

Updated: July 26, 2011, 6:59 PM ET
By Edward Aschoff | ESPN.com

Florida coach Will Muschamp officially put all those message board rumors concerning Jeff Demps to rest Tuesday.

After meeting with the senior running back/track star, Muschamp announced that Demps will return for his final year of collegiate football this fall instead of immediately pursuing a career in professional track.

"As I stated last week in Birmingham, Jeff Demps will be joining our football program when our squad reports for camp on Aug. 5 and when we start practice on Aug. 6," Muschamp said. "I met with him today and Jeff is looking forward to focusing on football for his upcoming senior season."

Demps had a team-high 551 rushing yards in 2010. For his career, Demps has accumulated 1,901 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns on 269 carries.

He also has 41 receptions for 309 yards and one score.

"When I came to Florida I wanted to compete at a very high level in both sports and I've done that," Demps said. "Football has been my first love, but I also love running track. All of my coaches have been supportive and I've always been able to concentrate on whatever sport I'm competing in during that season. I concentrated on track this past spring and summer, and I'm now ready to concentrate on football. I'm looking forward to getting back together with my football teammates and having a great senior season."

After a successful 2011 track season, Demps traveled to Italy last week to work out at a camp run by USA Track and Field to prepare for the IAAF Outdoor World Championships that begin Aug. 27 in Daegu, South Korea. Shortly after, rumors quickly spread about Demps possibly forgoing his senior season to run in the world meet or pursue a professional track career.

This spring, the sprinter celebrated back-to-back indoor team national championships and earned back-to-back individual national championships by breaking his own school record with a time of 6.53 seconds in the 60-meter dash.

Demps also set a personal best in the outdoor 100-meter dash with a wind-aided 9.96.

During Demps' senior year at Groveland (Fla.) South Lake, he set an amateur record, running a 10.25 in the 100 meters.

The return of Demps gives the Gators a senior-laden backfield. Quarterback John Brantley enters his final season, while fellow senior Chris Rainey, who has 1,603 career rushing yards, will get time at both running back and wide receiver.

Edward Aschoff is a college football writer for ESPN.com.