Are You a 10th Grader with No Looks for College Football Programs? Read This

For high school sophomores with dreams of playing college football, the path to earning recruiting offers might seem daunting. However, with the right strategy and dedication, you can put yourself on the radar of college coaches. Here are five crucial steps to increase your chances of getting those coveted offers:

1. Excel on the Field and in the Classroom
Performance and Academics Matter

First and foremost, your performance on the field is crucial. As a sophomore, focus on improving your skills, understanding the game, and excelling in your position. Coaches look for standout athletes who demonstrate consistency, determination, and a high level of play.

Equally important is your academic performance. College coaches seek student-athletes who can succeed both athletically and academically. Ensure your grades are strong, and take challenging courses. A high GPA and good standardized test scores (when the time comes) can set you apart from other recruits.

2. Build a Strong Highlight Reel
Showcase Your Talent

A well-crafted highlight reel is your ticket to getting noticed by college coaches. Start compiling game footage that showcases your best plays, athleticism, and versatility. Aim to keep the video concise (3-5 minutes) and make sure it includes:

– Your best plays at the beginning to grab attention quickly.
– Plays that highlight different skills, such as speed, strength, agility, and football IQ.
– Clear, high-quality footage with your information (name, position, school, contact info) at the beginning and end.

Share your highlight reel on platforms like Hudl, YouTube, and social media to reach a wider audience.

3. Attend Camps and Combines
Get in Front of Coaches

Attending football camps and combines can provide invaluable exposure. These events allow you to showcase your skills in front of college coaches and recruiters. Look for camps organized by colleges you’re interested in, as well as reputable regional or national camps.

Participating in these events offers several benefits:
– You can measure your abilities against other talented athletes.
– Coaches can see you perform live, which can be more impactful than video alone.
– You’ll receive feedback and coaching that can help you improve your game.

4. Build Relationships with Coaches
Network and Communicate

Building relationships with college coaches is key to the recruiting process. Start by creating a list of schools you’re interested in and researching their programs. Reach out to coaches via email, introducing yourself and expressing your interest in their program. Include your highlight reel, stats, and any relevant information about your academic and athletic achievements.

Here’s how to approach your communication:
– Be respectful and professional in your emails.
– Follow up periodically with updates on your progress and achievements.
– Attend games and events where you can meet coaches in person and show your support for their program.

5. Utilize Social Media and Recruiting Services
Maximize Your Exposure

In today’s digital age, social media is a powerful tool for recruiting. Platforms like Twitter and Instagram can help you connect with coaches and showcase your talent. Follow and engage with college programs, post highlights and updates, and maintain a professional online presence.

Additionally, consider using recruiting services. These services can help you manage your recruiting profile, get your name in front of coaches, and provide guidance throughout the process. While not essential, they can be a valuable resource for navigating the complexities of college recruiting.

Conclusion

Earning college football recruiting offers as a high school sophomore requires dedication, strategy, and hard work. By excelling both on the field and in the classroom, creating a compelling highlight reel, attending camps, building relationships with coaches, and leveraging social media and recruiting services, you can significantly enhance your chances. Stay focused, stay persistent, and keep striving for excellence. Your efforts will pay off in the long run.

High School Dual-Threat QBs Need to Show These Things on Film

In the world of high school football, the dual-threat quarterback has emerged as a coveted asset, blending passing prowess with the agility to navigate the field. As colleges increasingly seek versatile quarterbacks, the importance of showcasing specific skills on film becomes paramount. In this article, I will dissect the top things that a high school dual-threat quarterback needs to exhibit on film to capture the attention of recruiters and elevate their prospects of receiving offers.

1. Arm Strength and Accuracy:

The foundation of any quarterback’s game lies in their ability to deliver accurate and powerful throws. On film, recruiters look for quarterbacks who can zip the ball into tight windows with precision. Demonstrating the capacity to make all the required throws—short, intermediate, and deep—illustrates the quarterback’s versatility and adaptability to different offensive schemes. Being accurate on those deep throws is more important than being able to throw it a country mile. So while you are working on your arm strength, be sure you can hit the target when it’s 40+ yards down the field.

2. Pocket Presence and Decision-Making:

This, in my opinion, is the most important aspect of playing the position. A dual-threat quarterback must exhibit poise and awareness in the pocket. On film, recruiters scrutinize how the quarterback navigates pressure, whether by stepping up to avoid the rush or by evading defenders with agility. Equally crucial is the ability to make split-second decisions, quickly assessing coverage schemes and identifying open receivers. While I do find this to be the most important skill, I did not list it as number one because it’s not the first thing that will get you noticed. Coaches always think they can coach up the player that has the exceptional physical tools. However, possessing this will give you the leg up on the competition in the long run so don’t ever neglect it.

3. Mobility and Escapability:

One of the defining attributes of a dual-threat quarterback is their mobility. Highlight reels should showcase the quarterback’s ability to extend plays with their legs, whether by scrambling for yardage or by rolling out of the pocket to buy time for receivers to get open. A quarterback who can threaten both through the air and on the ground adds a dynamic dimension to any offense. Dual-threat QBs change the way the defense has to play. Winning offensive football still involves distributing the football to receivers. However, when all else fails, a quarterback that can rip off a big play when the defense has good coverage is the thing that gives defensive coaches gray hair.

4. Football IQ and Field Vision:

Beyond physical abilities, recruiters seek quarterbacks with a keen understanding of the game. On film, quarterbacks should demonstrate astute field vision, showing the ability to read defenses and anticipate openings. Whether it’s identifying blitzes, recognizing coverage rotations, or exploiting mismatches, quarterbacks who showcase high football IQ stand out from the pack. You can never have too much knowledge of the game. A lot is put on the shoulders of a quarterback. Meet that challenge by being prepared with an expert knowledge of how the game works. This means a keen understanding of your team’s scheme plus a solid knowledge of what defenses are trying to do to you.

5. Leadership and Composure:

The quarterback is often the de facto leader on the field, tasked with rallying teammates and inspiring confidence. On film, recruiters observe how the quarterback commands the huddle, communicates with teammates, and reacts to adversity. Displaying composure under pressure and resilience in the face of setbacks can leave a lasting impression on recruiters, highlighting intangible qualities that are invaluable in high-pressure situations. This is not a skill that is turned off and on. To be elite in this on the field, you must practice it off the field. Hone your personal discipline and watch how your teammates follow you. A strong leader inspires strength in their teammates in meetings, workouts, practices, and games.

6. Versatility in Offensive Systems:

High school offenses vary widely in their schemes and philosophies. A quarterback’s film should demonstrate adaptability to different offensive systems, whether it’s a spread offense that emphasizes quick reads and RPOs (Run-Pass Options), a pro-style offense that prioritizes precision passing and play-action, or a read-option offense that capitalizes on the quarterback’s running ability. Showcasing proficiency across diverse schemes enhances the quarterback’s appeal to recruiters with varying preferences. Even if your high school’s offensive scheme is very vanilla, spend some time learning and practicing an array of other schemes. You never know where you will end up and having some working knowledge of an offensive system is better than having none at all.

7. Clutch Performances and Game Management:

In critical moments, recruiters look for quarterbacks who rise to the occasion. Highlighting clutch performances in pressure situations, such as fourth-quarter comebacks or game-winning drives, can significantly enhance a quarterback’s appeal. Moreover, demonstrating sound game management skills, including clock management and situational awareness, underscores the quarterback’s readiness to excel at the next level. There is something to having that “it” factor. It’s high up there on the list for me in terms of evaluating a quarterback. It’s easy to be on point when you are up by 21 points in a game but how about when you need a touchdown with under 2 minutes left? Develop this part of your game and if you have these moments on game film, highlight them in your highlights. This will capture a recruiter’s attention.

In conclusion, the path to collegiate success for a high school dual-threat quarterback hinges on effectively showcasing a diverse skill set and intangible qualities on film. By highlighting arm strength, mobility, football IQ, leadership, and adaptability, quarterbacks can capture the attention of recruiters and position themselves as coveted prospects in the competitive landscape of college football. As the spotlight shines brightly on the gridiron, quarterbacks who master the art of presentation on film unlock doors to promising opportunities at the next level that many others won’t get.

If you think you are a dual-threat quarterback that has what it takes to play at the next level, download the GridironStuds app, create a profile, and boost your recruiting. Click here for the GridironStuds App.

Things Freshmen Should Be Doing to Get Recruited Part II

By: Chad Wilson
Owner GridironStuds.com

In my last post,  I discussed things that freshman should be doing to put themselves in line to get recruited.  Now don’t get me wrong,  this guide is not to make sure you get offers as a freshman.  Typically,  what leads to early offers are unusual skill sets.   Players that are abnormally large, fast or hyper skilled as 9th graders get the offers.

With that said,  high school does not only consist of your 9th grade year.  Even though the game has gotten shorter because of the early signing period and the transfer portal,  it’s still a long term game.  This means that you have to take certain steps to be in position to cash in at the end.  The end is your senior year of high school and national signing day.

Along those lines,  here is part II of the things freshman need to do to get recruited by college football programs.

Build Relationships with Coaches:

Initiate contact with college coaches and build relationships with them. Attend college football games, visit campuses, and communicate with coaches through emails, phone calls, or social media. Express genuine interest in their programs and inquire about their recruiting processes. Coaches often appreciate proactive athletes who take the initiative to reach out.  Never blow off a coach.  Yes,  it can be time consuming but the coach you blow off today could be the coach that ends up at the school you want to go to tomorrow.

Stay Active on Social Media:

Maintain a positive and professional presence on social media platforms. College coaches may review a recruit’s social media profiles to gauge character and behavior. Avoid controversial or inappropriate posts that could negatively impact recruitment opportunities. Use social media platforms to share highlights, accomplishments, and updates on football-related activities.  It’s best to create a separate account on Twitter for your recruiting information.  It is also ultra important that you create an account on the GridironStuds App.  Either way,  be very aware of what you post on social media.  You don’t want it coming back to haunt you.

Seek Guidance from High School Counselors and Coaches:

Engage with high school counselors and coaches who have experience with college recruitment. They can provide valuable insights, assist with academic planning, and help navigate the recruitment process. Attend college recruitment seminars or workshops to gather information on eligibility requirements, NCAA rules, and timelines.  You may think that you don’t have the time or that these things may be boring.  Change your mindset.  When these things pay off for you down the road,  you will be very glad you did them.

Stay Physically Fit and Take Care of Health:

Maintain a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, proper nutrition, and sufficient rest. Focus on strength and conditioning to improve physical capabilities. Stay injury-free by practicing proper training techniques and seeking appropriate medical attention when needed.  The focus as a high school football player is on lifting and running but don’t forget your diet.  Realize that what you eat plays a bigger role in how you look and how you perform than lifting weights does.  A great combination of both will give you the edge over many others.

Remain Persistent and Resilient:

The recruitment process can be challenging and may involve setbacks or rejections. It’s essential to remain persistent, motivated, and resilient throughout the journey. Stay committed to personal growth, continue to work hard, and seize every opportunity to showcase skills and character to college recruiters.  Just like your journey to becoming a good football player,  the journey towards getting recruited will have sticking points.  The same way you didn’t quit lifting weights when you failed in the bench press is the same way you are going to keep pushing when you don’t get what you want initially in recruiting.  The only failure is in not trying.

Combined with Part I of this guide,  the freshman that follows these steps has the edge over all others with most things being equal.  No amount of steps can overcome a physical inability to compete at the next level.  Assuming that this is not an issue that you face,  staying on top of the steps outlined in this article will have you inline to acheive your goal of obtaining a college football scholarship.

The Fastest 40 Yard Dash Ever

What Research Found Out On This Very Important Topic

Please follow me on Twitter @Gridironstuds

Football fans across America continue to obsess over the most simple drill in the game of football. Is there anything more discussed than the 40 yard dash? Every Spring, this drill takes center stage and undoubtedly the question is asked 1,o00’s of times. What’s the fastest 40 yard dash?

Just as sure as you get the question asked 1,000 times, you will get dozens of ridiculous answers. For starters, let’s find out why the 40 yard dash? When and why did 40 yards become so significant? It started in the 1960’s with the NFL team that had the most developed and comprehensive scouting department and that was the Dallas Cowboys. Prior to this time period, NFL coaches chose the 50 yard dash as the mark of measure to determine a player speed worthiness. In 1960, Gil Brandt, the director scouting for the Cowboys along with his department came up with the 40/20/10 measurement. The 40 was used for all players. The 20 yard split time of the 40 was of great significance for linemen since the thought was that they rarely run 40 yards in a game. The 10 yard split was important for wide receivers as a measure of their burst off of the line of scrimmage. With this, a drill was born and almost 50 years later, it has become the center piece of info on a prospective high school, college or professional football player.

So who had the fastest 40 yard dash ever? Research confirmed what I already knew and that there is no way to really tell. Here are some important things to know about the 40 yard dash:

Run your fastest 40 ever. Click on the pic.

– A hand time (use of a stop watch) will usually be faster than an electronic time

– There are two types of electronic times:

1. When a watch is started by a coach and an electronic beam records the time when it picks up the player crossing the end point

2. When an electronic beam picks up the movement of a player from the start and starts the clock. An electronic beam also detects the player at the end point and stops the clock. This time will be slower than version #1 and even slower than a hand time in which a coach starts his stop watch when he sees the player begin the run and then stops the watch when he sees the player cross the finish line.

– An accurtrack time will be the slowest of all. Accutrack is what is used at track meets. The clock in accu-track timing starts when the starter’s pistol is shot. The runner’s time for the event is recorded digitally when the technology detects the player crossing the finish line.

Studies have shown that that average reaction time by a human to a starter’s pistol is .25 seconds. For this reason, anyone who compares a 40 yard split time in a 100 meter event and compares it to reported hand timed 40 yard dash marks is making a big mistake. If you want compare the 40 yard split of a runner in a 100 meter event, subtract .25 seconds from the recorded time. So, Olympic runner Justin Gatlin’s 4.42 forty yard dash split recorded during his Gold Medal winning 9.85 100 meter run, would convert to a 4.17 forty yard dash by football standards.

After much research a few things have come up over and over and over. These things plus my own two eyes would lead me to believe that Darrell Green, Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders were the fastest football players to ever play the game.

It has been said consistently that Darrell Green recorded a time of 4.09 at the Washington Redskins’ training camp in 1986. That’s a hard time to swallow but Green’s obvious speed has been put on display many times while he was in the NFL. Green ran down from significant distances two of the fastest running backs to play in the NFL (Tony Dorsett and Eric Dickerson). Green has said in interviews that the fastest time he has ever been aware of running is 4.15. To his credit, Green does have a verifiable and official time of 10.08 in the 100 meters while he was a college student at Texas A&I University. If anyone could run a sub 4.1 forty, it was Darrell Green.



Many sources report a 4.12 forty yard dash time for Bo Jackson and if you watched him turn the corner and run down the sidelines in 1987 versus the Seattle Seahawks, you would not doubt any time reported by this freak of nature. Repetition does not make it a fact but if enough sources have reported this time to make me believe it. Jackson has an official 10.39 time in the 100 meter dash in college.

Deion Sanders has the closest thing of the three as a verifiable 40 yard dash time. Sanders ran a 4.21 forty yard dash at the 1989 NFL combine and kept right on going through the finish line into the first round of that year’s NFL draft. Like Green and Jackson, anyone who watched Sanders play would have little trouble believing that Sanders pulled off this feat. Sanders recorded a 10.21 100 meter mark while at Florida St.

Of course there are scores of reported 40 yard dash times that have made the rounds on the Internet. Some are ridiculous like the 3.9’s attached to a couple of players and some 4 flats that were attached to some others.

Here are some of the problems with reported 40 yard dash times from team workouts. Some times you can’t be sure that the distance run was indeed 40 yards. There’s always the chance that the distance was not properly marked. When teams do individual private workouts for teams, often times the scout has not brought the necessary tool to mark off the distance. There’s also the chance that player’s will cheat the distance. I have first hand knowledge of a player starting in front of the starting point to run a forty, fully taking advantage of the fact that there was only one scout on hand and that he could not tell if the player was indeed starting at the correct mark. Another problem is the angle of the surface. There are plenty of practice fields across the country that have a slope. Coaches see great value in having their players run on a slight decline to record eye popping times. Savvy scouts will insist that players run up one way and then down the other. An average of the two times is taken to get the most accurate time. One other problem is that some players run the 40 yard dash with cleats on grass while other places have their players run on a synthetic track with spikes on. Guess who would record the fastest time.

In my personal experiences, I have seen some sub 4.3 forty yard dashes in my time. Kevin Williams of the University of Miami (1989-92) ran a 4.28 forty yard dash before my own eyes. Former Hurricanes Tremain Mack (4.25) and Al Shipman (4.27) ran sub 4.3 forties before my own eyes. Track star Henry Neal recorded a 4.20 forty yard dash before my own eyes in a workout for the Miami Dolphins in 1996. The Dolphins did not sign Neal since his football background was quite limited. I never watched him run an actual 40 yard dash but after having to cover him in training camp, I am inclined to believe every second of Joey Galloway’s reported 4.18 forty yard dash.

One player that is not on the list is Bob Hayes of the Dallas Cowboys. No doubt, Hayes was one of the fastest men, if not

the fastest man to put on an NFL uniform. However, as it relates to the 40 yard dash, I could find no time recorded for this Olympic Gold medalist. Hayes has the fastest 100 meter time for an NFL player at 10.05. Should current Florida Gator Jeffery Demps make it to the NFL for any significant amount of time, he will own the fastest time at 10.01. Demps ran this as a high schooler and owns the national prep record for the event.

The fastest recorded 40 yard split on record belongs to Olympian Maurice Greene. During his World Record 60 meter run of 6.33, a mark that still exists, Green crossed the 40 yard mark at 4.18. Remembering that .25 seconds must be subtracted from that time due to Accu-track timing and you come up with a 40 yard dash time of 3.93 seconds. What’s the problem with that time? It was run on an indoor track with spikes on giving the runner an advantage over the football players who have run on grass with cleats.

In an effort to centralize all the reported 40 yard dash times. I will start what we call the SUB 4.3 Club. I will attempt to keep a running record of the sub 4.3 forty yard dashes and their owners in this list. I will refrain from adding times of the ridiculous and will do some research on all times that qualify. I will say one thing, can you web surfers stop reporting that Deion Sanders ran a 4.57 forty yard dash backwards. That’s just flat out ridiculous.

Enjoy the following list of reported (and somewhat believable) 40 yard dashes run under 4.3 seconds. We will continue to add on to this list over time. Did I miss someone? Comment on this article and make your case. Please do not quote high school forty yard dash times. Nothing against them, let’s just stick to college and pro football right now.

Listings in bold are new ones added since last update.

Note Updated: 3/03/24

We are getting annual additions to this list and 2024 was no different. However,  2024 will be special in that it provided us with a new combine record.  Before we get to that,  let’s take a look at the other new addition to the list in Nate Wiggins of Clemson (cornerback) who dropped an official 4.28 to end up on the list:

Now,  let’s talk about the record.  Texas wide receiver,  Xavier Worthy,  who trained at EXOS In Phoenix, Arizona broke the 7 year old combine record of 4.22 set by Washington receiver John Ross when he unloaded a 4.21 official time.  You will see in the video below that his unofficial time was a 4.22.  It was later announced that his official time was 4.21 besting that of Ross.  Here is the clip below:

Note Updated: 3/5/23:  It would’ve been hard to top what we saw at he combine in 2022 as three guys entered the list (an all time high) This year’s combine didn’t disappoint though as players continue to get faster and faster.  This year,  DJ Turner from Michigan entered the list with a blistering 4.26 forty (see video below). Though the video shows 4.27,  his official time ended up being 1 hundreth of a second faster at 4.26.  Turner trained at XPE in Ft. Lauderdale who,  by the way,  was responsible for all three of last year’s entries onto the list.  It appears that XPE headed by Tony Vilani and Matt Gates is onto something.

Note Updated: 3/7/22:  We may have just experienced the fastest NFL combine in history.  It stands to reason as training has developed at a rapid pace over the last decade for the 40 yard dash.  Three new entries are on the list now after the combine which is a record for the list since it was created.  We thought we had a new all time combine record when the receivers went several nights ago.  The unofficial time for Tyquan Thornton out of Baylor was 4.21.  Somehow the official time ended up being .7 slower so he enters with a 4.28.  This is still majorly impressive for a taller athlete at 6’2″  Everyone wondered how the defensive backs would look when it was their turn and at first it did not see as though they would match the wide receiver output.  However,  in the exact opposite of what happened with the wide receiver group,  the defensive back official times all ended up being quite a bit faster than the unofficial times posted on the screen during the NFL Network broadcast.  With that,  we ended up with two more additions to the list with Tyriq Woolen from UT San Antonio putting down a 4.26 official time and Baylor’s Kalen Barnes putting up a 4.23 official time just missing a chance to tie the best combine time ever by .01.  My list has now swelled to 59 members.

Below is a look at Barnes nearly record run.  It was shown as a 4.29 on the NFL Network broadcast but was later amended to a 4.23

Note Updated: 4/19/21:  Two new additions to the all time list.  Anthony Schwartz wide receiver from Auburn (4.25) and Eric Stokes defensive  back from Georgia (4.29). Of course,  you all know that there was no combine this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.  This means that the only thing we had were pro day times.  Much has been said and speculated about the pro day results.  I will make this careful observation based on what I know,  I’ve seen and I’ve heard.

With no combine,  players had more time to prepare.  That alone will yield better results.  In addition,  the combine is a rigorous process that does not lend itself to tip top athletic results by all.  Some manage that process better than others for a number of reasons.

The biggest discrepancy with the times seems to have come from agents and schools trying to promote their players vigorously in an attempt to boost their draft stock.  As such,  I did my research and found the sources that I could trust on the times and went with those.  At the end of the day,  these two athletes seem to have been the ones whose sub 4.3 times are able to stick.  Both Schwartz and Stokes were high school sprint stars running 10.05 and 10.39 respectively.  While that does not guarantee them sub 4.3 yard dash times,  it does give their run more credibility.

Note Updated: 2/28/20:  Alabama’s Henry Ruggs has been added to the list.  Ruggs turned in a time of 4.27 at the NFL Combine on 2/27/20.  Many had speculated that he would break the combine record of 4.22 recorded by John Ross in 2017,  Ruggs came up short.  Nevertheless,  4.27 is an outstanding time that puts him at #37 on our list.

https://twitter.com/NFL/status/1233212454970253312?s=20

Note Updated 3/05/19: Added Zedrick Woods of Ole Miss to the list.  There were many fast times at the 2019 NFL combine but only one guy was able to go sub 4.3 and get on the list.

Note Updated 2/03/19:  We’ve all wondered what Usain Bolt would do in a 40.  Well,  wonder no more,  kind of.  At the NFL Experience during Super Bowl LIII,  Bolt, ran the 40 yard dash in sweatpants and sneakers.  He casually came through the line in an unofficial 4.22.  Mind you,  I doubt he went through a full warm-up and the set up was such that he could not run through the line at full speed.  There’s little doubt that under the type of conditions that the NFL players run the 40 at the combine,  Bolt,  who is retired at age 32, would surpass anything any of us have ever seen in the 40 yard dash.

Note Updated: 3/8/17:  University of Minnesota DB Jaylen Myrick has been added to the list with an official NFL combine time of 4.28.  Myric joins a small list of NFL combine participants who have run under 4.30.  Myrick’s time would have been the talk of the combine had John Ross from Washington not broken Chris Johnson’s long standing record with his time of 4.22.

Note Updated 3/4/17:  University of Washington’s John Ross broke the combine official 40 yard dash record with a 4.22 laser time.  He will be placed on the list with this time.  With that said, several scouts had him under 4.20 with their hand times.  Lowest I heard was 4.16.  This would put Ross amongst the fastest ever. Ross cramped up immediately after his run and only ran one. Looking at the tape, he may have cramped near the end of his run. Truly an amazing performance.

Note Updated 3/5/16:  The NFL Combine provided two new additions to the list.  I do accept hand times to the list.  In fact,  hand times make up the majority of this list for any of you who may have been curious.  The NFL Network,  which televises the NFL Combine,  uses former NFL GM Charlie Casserly as their timer for 40 yard dashes run at the combine.  Casserly’s hand time makes up the “unofficial times” that you see on NFL Network during the telecast of the NFL Combine. This year,  Georgia RB Keith Marshall cranked out a 4.29 according to Casserly’s watch during his 40 yard dash and Auburn DB Jonathan Joseph was the fastest hand time at the 2016 combine with a 4.28.  Both have been added to the list as it has now grown to 48 members.

Note Updated 4/3/15: Pro timing days are still going but we do have two highly publicized entries onto the list. UCF’s Breshad Perriman cranked out a 4.22 forty at UCF’s pro timing day at 6’2″ and weighing 215 lbs.  Only Randy Moss is taller than Perriman on this list.  After running a 4.35 at the combine,  Miami’s Phillip Dorsett cranked out a 4.25 at the University of Miami’s pro timing day.  If you’ve had a chance to see video, it looked every bit of 4.2.  Dorsett becomes the 5th Miami Hurricane added to the list.

Note Updated 2/24/15:  Similar to last year we have only one new entry from this year’s NFL draft.  After talk leading up to the combine of Miami’s Phillip Dorsett possibly breaking Chris Johnson’s record, only University of Birmingham Alabama’s JJ Nelson who was able to go under 4.3 seconds.  Nelson earned his way onto our esteemed sub 4.3 list with a mark of 4.28 unofficially (4.29 officially).  The next fastest mark at the 2015 combine came from Michigan St. cornerback Trae Waynes at 4.31.  Dorsett did put a blazing time at 4.33 but it is quite short of Chris Johnson’s standing combine official record mark of 4.24.  Stay tuned for some mutant clocking a ridiculous time at one of the upcoming Pro Days.

Note Updated 2/26/14:  While the 2013 combine added four new members to our list, 2014 was not as generous. Kent St.’s Dri Archer was the only member of this year’s combine to go sub 4.3 and thus get added to the list.  Archer listed at 5’7 3/4″ completed his dash in 18 steps which equals 6’5″ Calvin Johnson’s mark for the fewest amount of steps for the 40 yard dash at the combine.  That is truly amazing power in his strides. With Archer, the list now grows to 45 in total.

Note Updated 2/25/13: 2013 Combine has done well to add to our growing list. First Tavon Austin blazed up the Indy track with an effort-less 4.25.  Then Texas WR Marquis Goodwin refused to be outdone and posted up his own 4.25.  Auburn’s Onterio McCalebb made them both sit down with his hand timed 4.21.  Only Goodwin remained under 4.3 when the official times released as he ended up with 4.27.  McCalebb and Austin both ended up with 4.34 official 40 times.  I do count hand times for this list so all three make it.

Note Updated 3/05/13: Added Steve Williams from California who ran an unofficial 4.25 at the combine. Also added former Northern Iowa WR Terrell Sinkfield who ran a 4.19 at Minnesota U’s Pro Day on 3/04/13.  Here’s an article discussing Sinkfield’s run.

Note Updated 1/11/12: Three new additions to the list.  Clayton Holmes as prompted by a visitor named Kane who reminded me about the speedster front the Cowboys.  After some research I was satisfied that he did indeed run a 4.23 forty yard dash during him time with the Cowboys.  The other two additions came from an interview I happened to view from Tom Shaw who has trained some of the fastest men that have ever played and continue to play in the NFL.  Ike Taylor of the Steelers who Shaw says ran a 4.25 coming into the NFL.  Shaw also said Taylor once ran a 4.18 but I will stick with the 4.25 run before pro scouts.   Shaw also mentioned how Rod Woodson ran a 4.28 at the NFL combine.  I don’t know how that fact escaped me but it has escaped me no longer.  So three new additions.

Notes Updated 3/05/11: Two new additions to the list.  I added the 4.20 forty yard dash that I witnessed Henry Neal run at a Dolphin tryout in 1996.  I remember it well because I had to run my 40 after his.  My 4.44 clocking seemed pedestrian after Henry mowed the lawn for the scouts.  Neal was not a football player but a track star that was well put together.  He was 5’9″ 177  of all muscle.  Perhaps some Dolphin scout saw him on his travels and flew him in for the workout.

The other addition is Walter Sutton.  I was reminded of this by an ex-Miami teammate of mine named Kelvin Harris who resides from the Fort Myers area that Walter Sutton also came from.  Sutton was drafted in the 4th round in 1991 by the Atlanta Falcons.  Sutton unfortunately was not able to start his NFL career because he was prosecuted on a drug dealing charge.  Sutton attended SW Minnesota St. and the best way to get drafted that high out of a school that size is to have speed and Walter did, clocking a 4.28 forty for the Falcons in a pre draft workout.

Notes Updated 3/02/11: DeMarcus Van Dyke is the latest addition to the list after clocking a 4.28 at the NFL combine.  That’s about as legit as it gets.  Van Dyke is the 4th Miami Hurricane to make the list.

Note Updated 1/11/12: Three new additions to the list.  Clayton Holmes as prompted by a visitor named Kane who reminded me about the speedster front the Cowboys.  After some research I was satisfied that he did indeed run a 4.23 forty yard dash during him time with the Cowboys.  The other two additions came from an interview I happened to view from Tom Shaw who has trained some of the fastest men that have ever played and continue to play in the NFL.  Ike Taylor of the Steelers who Shaw says ran a 4.25 coming into the NFL.  Shaw also said Taylor once ran a 4.18 but I will stick with the 4.25 run before pro scouts.   Shaw also mentioned how Rod Woodson ran a 4.28 at the NFL combine.  I don’t know how that fact escaped me but it has escaped me no longer.  So three new additions.

Notes Updated 1/24/11: Foolish me for not updating this sooner with Sam Shield’s 40 time since I witnessed it myself on his pro timing day last spring.  While I still had my mouth open from his 11’3″ broad jump where he seemingly got stuck in the air,  I watch Shields go out and chew up the first 40 yards like a 6 year old chews up a pack of bubbilicious.  He then smoothly coasted through the 2nd twenty and had scouts huddling up like they were calling a play on 4th and 1.   There were times all over the place ranging from 4.30 to 4.22 but the one most heard was 4.25 so that’s what I went with.  Johnny Knox is also deserving to be on this list. Knox, from the Bears, ran a 4.34 at the combine when he was coming out but he also ran on his pro timing day and there are may reports that put his time in the 4.26-4.29 range.  4.29 is what I have heard the most,  so that is what I went with.

Notes Updated: 3/04/10: USC’s Taylor Mays has been added to the list with his unofficial 4.24 at the NFL Combine.  Eventhough his official time was a 4.43,  I must include Mays’ time since several of the times on the list are hand times just like his.  Pretty amazing given Mays size (6’3″, 230 lbs.).  I may say that’s outside of Bo Jackson’s time,  Mays’ may be the most impressive when you take in the size factor.  Trindon Holliday has also been added for his unofficial 4.27 run at the combine on 3/01/10.

Notes Updated 3/01/10: Clemson’s Jacoby Ford and CJ Spiller were added to the list today.  Ford’s time at the Indianapolis NFL combine was a 4.27 unofficially and 4.28 officially.  CJ Spiller’s unofficial time was also a 4.28 but his official time ended up being a 4.37.  I am taking the 4.28 because there are many times on this list that are unofficial hand times.  Any way you look at it,  CJ Spiller can fly.

Notes Updated 1/04/09: Who knew this article would become so popular.  This has ended up being one of the most popular sports articles on the Internet since I wrote.  Just goes to show how much of a hot topic 40 yard dash times are.  I have received so many comments and emails about 40 yard dash times.  Please understand this 40 yard dash list is an “official” list meaning the times on it can be verified.  I am sure there have been some sub 4.3’s run out there but they have been done in a way that can not be verified.  There are a 100 stories about some boy name “D-Rock” who ran a 4.17 with some high tops on at lunch time on the grass field.  I can’t put those times on there.  There are even times that may be closer to official that I won’t even include.  For instance,  anyone who has seen C.J. Spiller or Jacoby Ford from Clemson or Trindon Holliday from LSU run could guess that these guys probably run sub 4.3 forty’s.  I am sure they have probably run them for some coach or strength and conditioning guy.  In fact,  Ford is said to have run a 4.26 at Clemson.  Holliday’s high school coach claims he ran a 4.27 but I am suspicious of high school forty yard dash times.  I need to tell you that up front.  Spiller has an alleged low time of 4.28.  However,  he also has a high time of 4.47.  On situations like that,  I will just wait to see what they run at the combine or in their private NFL workouts.  Sometimes,  they don’t hit the times you expect them to hit.

NOTE: Some of the times listed above may have been run on a track with spikes on. In cases where I know that to be true, those players are excluded from this list. Football is not played on a synthetic rubber surface with track spikes on. DeAngelo Hall’s reported 4.15 on Virginia Tech’s indoor track when he was a junior in college would be an example of that.

Is there someone missing from the list? Comment on this article with name and the time. I will check it out and add it if research dictates that it should be there. Comment on this article.

Things Freshman Should Be Doing to Get Recruited – Part I

By: Chad Wilson
Owner GridironStuds.com

Few things in life having undergone more changes over the last three years than college football recruiting.  From NIL to transfer portal to early signing periods,  college football recruiting now resembles computer programming in the way that players and parents need to stay updated.  All of the changes have made it even more important for high school freshmen and their parents to be on point early on so that things can work out in their favor at the end.  In part I of this two part series,  I will layout five very important things that high school freshmen should do if they want to put themselves on course to get a college football scholarship.

Focus on Academics:

Maintaining strong academic performance is crucial for college recruitment. High grades and a solid GPA will demonstrate discipline, dedication, and the ability to balance academics with athletics. Student-athletes should prioritize their studies and aim for academic excellence throughout high school.  Don’t get fooled by guys who seem big time without doing their best in the classroom.  It catches up with them at some point.  Don’t follow that path.

Develop Football Skills:

Dedicate time to honing football skills through practice, training, and participation in organized football activities. Attend offseason camps, clinics, and combine events to showcase abilities and gain exposure to college coaches and recruiters. Seek guidance from experienced coaches and trainers who can provide valuable instruction.  As you progress through the levels,  your football skill will be the thing that moves you beyond the next man.

Join a Competitive High School Program:

Playing for a competitive high school football program can offer exposure and opportunities to compete against top talent. Seek out schools with successful football programs and coaches who can help develop skills and provide valuable guidance. Perform at a high level in games and practices to attract attention from college recruiters.  This tip won’t be popular with some high school coaches.  Those coaches will be the ones who aren’t dedicated to giving their players the best opportunity to play beyond high school.  For some coaches,  it’s just a paycheck and for others,  helping young student athletes reach their goals is a passion.  Find the passionate coaches and programs.

Create a Highlight Reel:

Compile a highlight reel showcasing the athlete’s best plays and skills. Include footage from games, practices, and showcases. The reel should be well-edited, highlight the athlete’s strengths, and demonstrate their potential as a college-level player. Share the highlight reel with college coaches and recruiters to showcase abilities and generate interest.  Show your best plays first and go in descending order.  When it comes to highlight tapes,  shorter is better.  Two to four minutes is all you need to entice a coach’s interest.  Besides,  you are better off having them watch your top 15 plays over and over than having them watch 30 plays for 8 minutes that include routine plays that bore them.

Attend College Camps and Combines:

Participate in college football camps and combines organized by colleges and universities. These events provide exposure to college coaches and allow athletes to showcase their skills directly in front of recruiters. Research and attend camps hosted by schools of interest to increase visibility and create opportunities for evaluations.  Use the Rivals and 247 type camps as practice for the college camps.  Don’t worry about trying to become the MVP of the Rivals camp.  Focus more on learning how to perform so that you can do that when you are actually in front of coaches who can offer you a scholarship.

These five things are a great way for you to get yourself on the right course.  As freshmen,  you have a hard time thinking about the future.  Often times,  at this age,  you live very much in the moment and find it difficult just to focus on the day you are living in.  Getting acclimated to high school and football as a 9th grader is challenging enough.  However,  scholarships for high school players are getting tougher to get.  If you want to give yourself an edge then you must have an eye to the future.  If you are a parent,  you must insert yourself here and be sure that your young man is doing these things.

In part two next week,  I will have more very useful tips for you to take advantage of.  There are over 1 million high school football players each year in the United States.  Most of these young athletes have an eye towards playing in college one day.  What you do as a freshman will increase your increasing slim odds of achieving that goal.

How to Get Recruited for College Football: A Playbook for High School Football Players 

By: Chad Wilson
Editor – GridironStuds Blog

For many high school football players, the dream of playing college football is one that’s cherished from a young age. The thought of wearing a college jersey, competing on a bigger stage, and receiving an education is incredibly enticing. However, the path to becoming a college football player is competitive and challenging. To help you get recruited and live your dream, here’s a playbook for high school football players and their parents.

1. Start Early

Recruitment often starts well before your senior year. College coaches look for young talent, so make sure to impress early. Attend football camps and showcases during your sophomore and junior years to get noticed.  In your freshman season go to local camps or smaller camps just to get used to the atmosphere of how to compete in camps.  This will prep you for the bigger and more important camps that will come down the road. 

2. Maintain Good Grades

Academics play a crucial role in college football recruitment. Maintaining a strong GPA and taking challenging courses will make you a more appealing candidate to coaches. Many scholarships require a minimum GPA, so don’t let your grades slip. This advice typically gets skipped over by young players but not the parents.  Listen to your parents because this part is more important than you realize.  When things get competitive at the end of your recruitment,  typically your GPA is the deciding factor.  The less trouble it will take to get you into school,  the better a prospect you become.

3. Create a Highlight Reel

Film is essential for recruiters. Compile a highlight reel showcasing your best plays. Include a mix of your top tackles, interceptions, touchdowns, and crucial moments. Make sure it’s easily accessible on a platform like Hudl or YouTube.  I have a ton of info on how to best put your highlight video together on this website.  There is an art to it and how you put it together should not be taken for granted.  Coaches look at 100’s of highlight videos.  You have to take the steps to make yours stand out or they may skip it.

4. Reach Out to Coaches

Don’t wait for coaches to come to you. Take the initiative and reach out to college coaches. Send them your highlight reel, your statistics, and a well-crafted introductory email expressing your interest in their program.  The old adage of play well and they’ll find you does not apply anymore.  Coaches have access to 1,000’s of recruits now because of the Internet and social media.  Every year,  many talented high school football players worthy of scholarship opportunities go unnoticed and let their college football dreams die.  Don’t let that be you,  be proactive and reach out to coaches. 

5. Attend College Camps

Participate in college camps and combines. This is a great way to get in front of college coaches, receive hands-on instruction, and showcase your skills. Many players get noticed at these events.  By college camps,  I mean camps on college campuses.  These camps are where the actual offers get handed out.  The recruiting camps run by the recruiting websites are great but when it comes down to actually being seen by a college coach with the power to offer you,  college camps are the way to go.

6. Choose the Right Fit

It’s not just about the college football program; it’s about finding the right academic and social fit. Don’t overlook factors like location, campus culture, and your major when considering colleges. Remember, you’re not just committing to a team; you’re committing to an education.  It’s normal to get attached to a coach or persuaded by a recruiters words.  After all,  it’s their job to convince you.  However,  collect as much information as you can,  sit back and make a logical choice.  Though there is a transfer portal nowadays,  going through that process is not as easy as you may think it is.  Having to pick up and change schools because you made a choice is a waste of time and momentum.  If doesn’t work out most of the time for the guys who do it.

7. Network and Get Noticed

Build a network within the football community. Attend recruiting events, join local football organizations, and connect with current or former college players. The more people who know you’re looking to play at the next level, the better your chances of getting noticed.  This is the hardest part for young athletes.  Many are intimidated by and uncomfortable talking to adults.  Quite simply,  get over that.  We are talking about your future.  The truth is that may adults respect young student-athletes who are both willing and able to hold a conversation or take the initiative to secure their future.  Some of the best conversations you will have will be with adults who can give you insight into how to reach your recruiting goals.  It may be uncomfortable at first but the rewards are worth it. 

8. Be Patient and Persistent

Recruitment can be a long and sometimes frustrating process. You may receive rejection letters or not hear back from some colleges. Stay persistent, keep improving your skills, and don’t give up on your dream.  You may hit some roadblocks and that is to be expected.  In football not every play works,  not every defense call is successful and you don’t win every game.  The same way that you line up for the next play or the next game is the same way you stay on your path in recruiting.  Where there is not a way,  you find one.  Also,  your success most likely won’t be immediate so don’t lose your mind when it isn’t.  Others may get offers before you but that doesn’t mean that they will have better opportunities in the end.  Recruiting is a marathon,  not a sprint.

9. Prepare for the Interview

When a coach expresses interest, be prepared for an interview. They’ll want to know about your character, work ethic, and team spirit. Showcase your passion for the sport and your dedication to being a team player.  It will also help for you to know something about the school and the coach as well.  Impress them with your knowledge of that they do.  This goes a long way in giving them a good impression of you.  Remember,  recruiting is competitive so get an edge wherever you can.

10. Showcase Versatility

Versatility is a valuable trait. If you can play multiple positions or excel in various situations, make sure to highlight that in your recruitment materials. Coaches love players who can adapt to different game scenarios.  How you put your highlight video together will also go a long way in highlighting your versatility.  Show as much of what you can do in the first 60-90 seconds of your highlight video.  Don’t make them wait.  Lock in their interest from the start.

11. Stay in Shape

Stay in peak physical condition year-round. Coaches are more likely to take notice if you’re consistently in good shape and working on your strength, speed, and agility.  In fact,  I highly recommend that you play other sports.  Coaches are always looking for guys that are talented in other sports or have the discipline to do it.  All the data shows that athletes that excelled in multiple sports make the best players in the long run.

12. Keep a Positive Attitude

College coaches want players who are not only talented but also coachable and positive. Your attitude, work ethic, and willingness to learn can make a significant impact on your recruitment.  There’s nothing worse than trying to get a talented athlete to cooperate for the good of the team.  Coaches are humans and want to work with people that are easy to work with.  Being constantly difficult drains the energy out of those around you that could be used for something more related to winning.  At the end of the day,  it’s about wins and losses.  Having a bad attitude does not make a winner.

13. Consider All Opportunities

Don’t rule out smaller schools or programs. Sometimes, a smaller college or university can offer significant opportunities for playing time and scholarships. Keep your options open.  Everyone one wants to play the 3:30 pm game on Saturday on CBS or Fox or ESPN.  However,  not everyone will or should.  Sometimes a smaller program can provide you with a much better experience and opportunity.  Logically look at your choices and don’t just cast out a school because your ego won’t allow you to go there.  

14. Seek Guidance

Finally, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from your high school coaches, mentors, or recruiting experts. They can provide valuable insights and help you navigate the complex recruitment process.  Playing college football is a remarkable achievement that combines your passion for the game with higher education. Remember that while talent is crucial, the process requires dedication, hard work, and a strategic approach. Follow this playbook, stay focused on your goals, and never give up on your dreams of playing college football. It’s a journey that can change your life and create lasting memories on and off the field. Good luck!