Kent State running back Dri Archer was expected to be one of the most explosive players in the nation in 2013, but leg and ankle injuries limited him all season and his production tailed way off from his breakout 2012 campaign.
He says he is healthy now and ready to show off his explosiveness at the NFL Scouting Combine.
In 2012, Archer (listed at 5-foot-8 and 175 pounds by Kent State) showed off excellent speed, quick feet and elusiveness. He ran for 1,429 yards and 16 TDs as a junior, and also had three touchdowns on 16 return opportunities. But he had just 68 carries and only 95 total touches as a senior in 2013, when he accounted for 982 total yards.
He told Fox Sports Ohio he has been training for the combine in Florida with speed coach Tom Shaw since early January, and Archer said he is "the healthiest I've been in four or five years."
His health leads him to believe he can challenge the 40-yard dash record at the combine. Archer says the 4.24-second clocking turned in by Chris Johnson -- like Archer, a Florida native -- is "what I've been looking at, what I've been training for. It's definitely in my goals, and I think it can be done."
He will run Sunday with the other running backs.
"Everyone is going to see it," Archer said. "And hopefully everybody will talking about it."
Archer has legit track speed. As a high school senior in the biggest classification in Florida, Archer finished second in the state track meet in the 100 meters -- one spot ahead of Denard Robinson; the winner in state-record time was Dentarius Locke, now one of the nation's top college sprinters at Florida State.
Archer said he also is looking forward to the team interviews at the combine. He said he has "a lot to prove to a lot of people, but it's always been that way. Unfortunately, I had a bad season. But I've moved forward. My focus is on having a good season in 2014 in the NFL."
Archer's size obviously precludes him from being an every-down back. But his speed and elusiveness could make him a dangerous weapon on returns and in some offensive packages, and is the main reason he could be a third-day draft pick. And if he turns in a time near Johnson's 4.24? He's right: Everybody will be talking about it.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.