LAFAYETTE — Just how fast is Harry Peoples?
The answer to that is still a source of speculation.
Even his coach isn’t so sure.
Whatever the stopwatch might say apparently isn’t relevant. Peoples continues to make catches and cause defenses to adjust.
The senior wide receiver at Louisiana-Lafayette has a team-leading 55 catches for 606 yards and four touchdowns.
In two years as a Cajuns receiver — Peoples is a junior college transfer — he ranks eighth in career receptions (113, for 1,303 yards).
In last week’s 31-27 victory over Western Kentucky, Peoples caught 13 passes for 144 yards.
Three of those came on ULL’s game winning 93-yard drive, which began with no timeouts and 1:32 remaining.
After that performance, Peoples is fourth in the Sun Belt Conference in receptions this season.
Most of Peoples’ catches have been on short out routes, bubble screens and quick slants where he utilizes fast moves off the line of scrimmage.
Asked this week to reveal what type of speed Peoples actually has, ULL coach Mark Hudspeth said he doesn’t know. Or care.
“How fast is he?” Hudspeth said. “He’s fast enough.
“I know this: He is hard to tackle. And the things he does, I don’t know if you can time with a stopwatch. He’s fast enough that he’s hard to tackle. There’s not a receiver in the Sun Belt Conference as good as Harry Peoples.”
Peoples, a native of Winona, Miss., laughs and rolls his eyes a bit when he hears about Hudspeth’s assessment of his speed.
“In junior college, I was a scatback — something like a running back and wide receiver. Then, when I came here, it was like, full receiver,” Peoples said.
Asked to provide a definition that describes his on-the-field talents, Peoples paints a player with hybrid skills.
“I guess I have the quickness of a running back with the skills of a receiver, so it’s all working out for the best,” he said.
Other teams have prepared for those talents.
“Some teams try to bracket me, but they can’t do that too much, because I’ve got some other guys on the outside (at wide receiver),” Peoples said. “Thanks to them, that’s the only reason why I’m able to catch all those outs and bubbles. They have to respect the deep ball.”
Peoples said over this season he has developed a strong receiver-quarterback relationship with sophomore Terrance Broadway, who has thrown for more than 2,000 yarrds.
“With Terrance and Javone (Lawson) being out, I’m sort of become like the leader of the wide receivers. Terrance always tells me that when it’s crunch time, he’s going to be coming to me,” Peoples said.
“By telling me that, that’s making me have hope in myself because he has that faith in me.”
Peoples is one of 18 ULL seniors making their final home appearance Saturday when the Cajuns host South Alabama at 4 p.m.
Although he hasn’t been in ULL’s program as long as most of the other seniors, Peoples said it will be a special day.
“It’s just been a blessing to be here, playing a game I love with guys who are great and coaches who feel the same way I do about football,” Peoples said.
“When I came here (from Holmes Community College), they knew I was the older guy, but we kind of grew on each other sort of quick. To me, it seems like I’ve been here all those four years.”