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E. J. Speed

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E. J. Speed
refer to caption
Speed with the Indianapolis Colts in 2022
No. 45 – Indianapolis Colts
Personal information
Born: (1995-06-01) June 1, 1995 (age 29)
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:227 lb (103 kg)
Career information
High school:North Crowley (Fort Worth, Texas)
College:Tarleton State (2013–2018)
NFL draft:2019 / Round: 5 / Pick: 164
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
  • 2× Second-team All-LSC (2016, 2018)
Career NFL statistics as of 2023
Total tackles:212
Forced fumbles:6
Pass deflections:7
Defensive touchdowns:2
Player stats at PFR

Elbert Martin "E. J." Speed (born June 1, 1995) is an American football linebacker for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Tarleton State.

Early years[edit]

Speed grew up in Fort Worth, Texas and attended North Crowley High School. He played both quarterback and wide receiver for the Panthers football team and was named first-team All-District as a senior after passing for 3,000 yards, rushing for 350 yards, and catching 30 passes for 400 yards with two touchdowns.[1]

Speed was ranked a two-star recruit by Rivals.com and was ranked one of the top 30 high school recruits in the state of Texas by Dave Campbell's Texas Football and received scholarship offers from Oklahoma State, Colorado, and Colorado State but he ultimately decided to play college football at NCAA Division II Tarleton State University in order to stay closer to his family after his stepbrother was diagnosed with cancer.[2]

College career[edit]

Speed played five seasons for the Tarleton State Texans, redshirting his sophomore season due to injury. He was recruited to play quarterback, but was converted to wide receiver before moving to linebacker after his redshirt season. He was forced to redshirt again the next season due to injury.[3]

In his first season of playing time, Speed finished third on the team with 68 tackles, including 13 for loss, with six sacks and a Division II-high five forced fumbles and was named second-team All-Lone Star Conference (LSC). He only played in five games due to injury as a junior, with 41 total tackles (8.5 for loss).[4]

As a senior, Speed recorded a career-high 106 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 5 sacks and was again named second-team All-LSC.[5] During this senior season, Speed was arrested and charged with two counts of organized criminal activity in relation to a credit card fraud scheme along with three other people. His case was ultimately dismissed after the charges were no-billed by a grand jury.[6]

Speed finished his collegiate career with 231 tackles, 36 of which were for a loss, 11.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
6 ft 4 in
(1.93 m)
224 lb
(102 kg)
33+14 in
(0.84 m)
9+34 in
(0.25 m)
4.60 s 1.58 s 2.57 s 4.39 s 6.90 s 34.0 in
(0.86 m)
10 ft 0 in
(3.05 m)
24 reps
All values from Pro Day[7][8]

Speed was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the fifth round, 164th overall, of the 2019 NFL Draft.[9] He signed a rookie contract with the team on May 3, 2019. Notably, he posted an unimpressive 4.60 in the 40-yard dash, despite his name.[10] Speed made his NFL debut on September 15, 2019 in a 19–17 win over the Tennessee Titans.[11] He finished his rookie season with seven total tackles in 12 games played.[12]

On November 12, 2020, against the Titans on Thursday Night Football, Speed blocked a punt from Trevor Daniel that was picked up and taken into the end zone for a touchdown by teammate T. J. Carrie and was named the American Football Conference (AFC) Special Teams Player of the Week for Week 10.[13][14]

In Week 10 of the 2021 season, Speed returned a blocked punt 12 yards for a touchdown in a 23–17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, earning AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.[15] In Week 15, Speed recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for his second touchdown of the season in a 27–17 win over the New England Patriots.

On March 15, 2023, Speed signed a two-year, $8 million contract extension with the Colts.[16]

In 2023, Speed played in 16 games with 11 starts, finishing second on the team with 102 tackles, one sack, four passes defensed, and three forced fumbles.


  1. ^ Gosset, Brian (April 27, 2019). "Former North Crowley, Tarleton State standout selected by the Colts in 5th round". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Keefer, Zak (April 27, 2019). "Late find: How the Colts uncovered their most intriguing draft pick, EJ Speed". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved April 28, 2019.
  3. ^ Kruse, Zach (April 22, 2019). "Packers bring in Tarleton State LB E.J. Speed for pre-draft visit". PackersWire.com. USAToday.com. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  4. ^ Vanden Berge, Sara (September 11, 2018). "Tarleton linebacker arrested on 2 felony counts". Stephenville Empire-Tribune. Archived from the original on May 4, 2019. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  5. ^ Chappell, Mike (April 27, 2019). "Colts' draft: a pick-by-pick breakdown". FOX59.com. WXIN. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  6. ^ Vanden Berge, Sara (April 1, 2019). "Former Tarleton linebacker meeting with NFL scouts". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  7. ^ "2019 Draft Scout EJ Speed, Tarleton NFL Draft Scout College Football Profile". draftscout.com. Retrieved November 20, 2022.
  8. ^ "E.J. Speed 2019 NFL Draft Profile". insider.espn.com. Retrieved November 20, 2022.
  9. ^ Walker, Andrew (April 27, 2019). "Colts Select Linebacker EJ Speed With 154th-Overall Pick". Colts.com. Retrieved November 13, 2020.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Colts sign second-round pick Banogu, 4 other draft picks". CBS4Indy.com. WTTV. May 3, 2019. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  11. ^ Walker, Andrew (September 17, 2019). "Colts Release Week 3 Unofficial Depth Chart For Falcons Matchup". Colts.com. Retrieved September 17, 2019.
  12. ^ "E.J. Speed 2019 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved November 13, 2020.
  13. ^ Newell, Nat (November 13, 2020). "How the Colts' E.J. Speed changed Thursday's win over the Titans in 2:22". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved November 13, 2020.
  14. ^ "Colts linebacker E.J. Speed named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week". Fox59.com. November 18, 2020. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  15. ^ Gordon, Grant (November 17, 2021). "Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, 49ers WR Deebo Samuel highlight Players of the Week". NFL.com.
  16. ^ "Colts sign LB EJ Speed to contract extension". Colts.com. March 15, 2023.

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