What is NIL and How Has it Affected College Football

The term NIL has dominated college football over the last 2-3 years but do you really understand what it is.  This brief post will give you the information you need.

The world of college football was forever changed in July 2021 when the NCAA officially allowed college athletes to profit off their name, image, and likeness (NIL). This new development has major implications for college sports, as well as for the athletes themselves. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how NIL works in college football and how it’s changing the sport.

What is NIL?

Before we dive into the specifics of how NIL works, let’s define what it is. NIL stands for “name, image, and likeness,” and refers to an athlete’s ability to profit off their own personal brand. This could include things like endorsement deals, social media sponsorships, and appearances at events.

Prior to the change in NCAA rules, college athletes were not allowed to profit off their NIL. This meant that even if an athlete became famous and popular while playing college football, they were not allowed to make any money off their own likeness. This was seen by many as unfair, especially given the huge amounts of money that college football programs generate.

However, with the new NIL rules, college athletes can now profit off their own personal brand. This has been a long time coming, as many have argued that college athletes deserve to be able to make money off their own likeness.

How does NIL work in college football?

Under the new NCAA rules, college athletes are now allowed to profit off their NIL. This means that they can sign endorsement deals, work with brands, and make money off their social media presence, among other things.

There are some restrictions on what athletes can and can’t do when it comes to NIL, however. For example, they can’t use their college’s logos or trademarks in any commercial ventures. They also can’t use their NIL as a way to entice recruits to attend their college.

In addition, some states have passed their own laws regarding NIL that may differ from the NCAA’s rules. For example, in some states, athletes may be able to sign deals with sports betting companies, which is not allowed under NCAA rules.

In the next part of our look at NIL,  we’ll discuss how NIL has changed college football recruiting.

4 Ways Defensive Tackles Can Capture College Scouts Attention

Defensive line has been one of the better places for athletes to go and earn football scholarships over the last decade in high school football.

Since football on all levels has turned into a passing game, a premium has been placed on the ability to rush the passer. This has led to many would be basketball player types moving to football and earning their scholarship money rushing the passer.

With that being the case, I’m going to show you in this article for ways that you can stand out on film as a defensive tackle and grab those scholarship offers from college football programs.

Have a Great Get Off

If you’re trying to jump out on the film when a coach or coaches are watching,  having a great get off is perhaps the best way to do that. There’s just something about watching a big man leap out of his stance,  get into the gap and explode into the backfield consistently on film.  Of course you will need to make plays when you do that but even if you aren’t,  coaches will be of the mindset that they can teach you how to make those plays when you get back there. It’s harder for them to teach you how to get back there in the first place. Spend a significant amount of time working on your get off and being quick off the ball when it is snapped.  The best place to start with that is in the weight room and with your explosive lifts, like power cleans, squats, and deadlifts.

Fluid lateral movement

Going forward fast is always exciting but we all know at some point the offense will put obstacles in your way. If you could show on film that you can counter those obstacles with solid lateral movement,  you can catch the eye of recruiters. Being able to slant to a gap, run a stunt or occasionally avoid a block to make a play is a huge plus for a big interior lineman.  Most guys are a one trick pony that can only go forward.  Showing versatility to your game by being able to go left or right with quickness will only increase your value.  Don’t ignore training your agility in the off-season.  This means you will have to get out on that field and do some cone work.  Make sure you’re staying low in your drills and not creating bad habits.

Excellent pass rush moves.

Remember when I said football is now a passing game. It’s cool if you can stop the run as a big defensive tackle. It’s even better if you can push the pocket, penetrate through gaps and affect the passer as well.  When defensive tackles can push the pocket, or move the passer off his mark it makes the entire pass rush that much better.  Avoid being that guy that is a magnet for blocks when the offense is passing the football.  Spend time learning how to swim,  rip, hook and get an offensive lineman‘s hands off of you, so you can get into the Quarterbacks’s chest. Developing this will require some study time as well as some drill time.


If you have all three of the things I described above, the icing on the cake is going to be a guy that has good pursuit. Perhaps the second best way to stand out on film is to be a big guy with a high motor. Many college coaches will tell you watching a big man run from sideline to sideline or pursue a ball carrier down field gives them the feeling that they have a winner. One of the hardest thing for coaches to coach is effort.  Typically,  that is found within the player.  If this is something you lack, get to work on developing that now.  To be honest with you,  few coaches can bring this out in you.  It is really something that you’re going to have to find within yourself.  It starts with you being in shape, so get your conditioning in during the off-season.  Don’t forget it stick to it while you’re in season too.  Being in good shape gives you the energy to go chase down ball carriers.  On defense it’s all about getting to the football.  Show up on film by always being around the football.

If you can show these four things on film and you’re not built like an outside linebacker or safety,  you have a really good chance of being recruited by college football programs as a defensive tackle.  You can achieve this, even though you are not the ideal height and weight.  All of the things described in this article are going to require you putting in some real work to achieve. Getting a college football scholarship offer is a great thing and nothing great achieved in life will come easy. So put your work boots on.

Georgia and Ohio St. are Battling for this 5-Star QB | Dylan Raiola

Recruiting classes come and go, and with them prospects not only fight for offers, but for their place in history. Some are successful in being unique but most just fall into the crowd and are forgotten once the new crop comes in.

That is not likely to be the case for today’s 5 star subject, Dylan Raiola.  I don’t know Raiola personally, however, if I had to guess there’s a certain Super Bowl quarterback that is his favorite. We’ll get to that in a moment. Here are my five reasons why Raiola is a five star

You know my big saying in recruiting is that it is a beauty contest, and Reola has the size and athleticism to be, a top prospect at the quarterback position. At 6’3”, 220 lbs, Raiola falls outside of the normal size for a high school quarterback. The 220 lbs that he carries is well put together. When you add to that the athleticism and mobility, it’s easy to see that he is the thing that successful college football quarterbacks are made of physical speaking. When coaches head out on the recruiting trail, looking for quarterbacks for the future of their programs, Raiola‘s size and athleticism is typically what they are looking for. Unless you are a program looking for a dual threat quarterback,  Raiola is the type that would be your prime candidate. He has annoying mobility. This means he doesn’t take off and run with the football the moment he feels pressured. instead,  he displays the ability, à la Patrick Mahomes, to stay alive behind the line of scrimmage and gut the defense with a throw downfield. When necessary he can scramble for the first down and extend the drive. His size and movement skills are a solid part of what makes him unique and a five star.

While College Football Recruiting is about projections and athletic traits, it is difficult to reach five star status without performance. Raiola puts a checkmark in that category as well. In two seasons at Pinnacle high school in Arizona, Raiola has thrown for over 5600 yards and 64 touchdowns. More importantly, he has taken Pinnacle from a 4-8  mark in his first season as a starter his sophomore year to an 8-5 team in his junior campaign. It is important to show at any level that the team you play for is significantly better with you at the controls and Raiola has definitely shown that.

A third important reason that Raiola is a five star are his traits. He shows the things that college football quarterback coaches, and offensive coordinators drool over. First,  he has a strong arm and can make all the throws. This includes being able to make off platform throws with some good speed on them. He doesn’t always need to set his feet to make a strong and accurate throw. A lot of his throwing mechanics mimic those of Mahomes. Along with the strong arm, he possesses accuracy in his throws. One of the more unique things that he does as a high school quarterback is make anticipatory throws. That is not the norm at the high school level. Most high school quarterbacks will wait for a guy to be open before they make the throw. Raiola will throw into the next window for a receiver that’s on the move. He will also throw to a receiver that is covered and put the ball in a place where only the receiver can catch it. That is a next level trait. He also shows great command of the offense, but what I feel he does best is make the deep ball throw. Raiola probably has the best deep ball that I’ve seen from a prospect over the last decade. He is very adept at dropping the ball in the bucket and making it very catchable for the wide receiver. Deep ball throws to the corner of the end zone to a covered wide receiver are one of his strengths and frankly it’s fun to watch on film.

The fourth reason that he is a five star is he is a dual sport athlete. Perhaps some people don’t want to hear that, but that’s the way that it is. Most quarterbacks that excelled at this game were multi sport athletes in high school. This is still a thing, despite all the off-season activities that a high school quarterback must engage in these days. Raiola is a stand out baseball player along with all of his exploits on the high school gridiron. Being a two sport or multi sport athlete is definitely a plus when you are talking about a five star high school football player.

Finally, Raiola has a pedigree. His father, Dominic, was an offiensive lineman for the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the late 90s. He then went on to spend 14 years in the NFL playing for the Detroit Lions. However, the pedigree  doesn’t just stop there. His mother was a college athlete playing water polo and he has several members of his family that were involved in collegiate athletics. so basically, Raiola comes from an athletic family. He grew up in an atmosphere that fosters competition and athletic achievement. These kind of things matter as you start moving up through the ranks of high school and college athletics.

While most non-casual fans realize that someone like Patrick Mahomes is a once in a lifetime talent,  it is not outrageous to draw comparisons between Raiola‘s game, and that of Mahomes’. Whether or not he achieves the things that Mahomes has in his career is still, of course, to be seen. However , it is clear to anyone watching that Raiola studies Mahomes and has had a good amount of success duplicating some of Mahomes‘s attributes. You will instantly realize it when you see him make cross body throws with speed and accuracy. It will be fun to watch Raiola‘s development, not only in his final year of high school, but when he hits the college scene.

Last May he committed to the Ohio state, but reminded it on that commitment in December. As it stands now, many believe he will eventually pledge to Georgia. In fact, the majority of the crystal balls at 247 sports say that he will be a bulldog. There is quite some time to go in his recruitment, so we will just have to see about that. For now, we get to just enjoy his exploits on the field this senior season and further analyze the play of this five star.

The Fastest 40 Yard Dash Ever

What Research Found Out On This Very Important Topic

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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: 3/5/23:  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.


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.

To Walk On or Not to Walk On. That is a Prospect’s Question

If you’re a high school football player in the midst of or nearing the end of your career on the prep Gridiron then this article most definitely is for you.

It’s getting down to decision time. Of course,  at some point,  you had visions of playing big time football on CBS or ABC or ESPN, etc. However, it is reality time. The big time offers did not come your way and you would still like to play college football so you are weighing your options. Those options could be anywhere from prep school to small school partial scholarships to walking on at the power 5 school that couldn’t offer you a scholarship.

In my nearly 2 decades of doing this, most of the time prospects faced with these options choose the walk on route. Unfortunately, many times it ends up being not what they expected and they abandon that course.  What I have learned over the years is that your experience as a walk on boils down to your expectations. I have had some prospects thoroughly enjoy the walk on experience and others who have hated it so much that they don’t even like football anymore. As I questioned them about the experience,  overwhelmingly it seems the unhappy ones expected far more than they should have.

What needs to be understood as a walk on is that the school did not offer you a scholarship. You as a prospect need to understand what that means. No matter how much you think they like you, the reality is that they did not like you enough to offer you one of their precious scholarships. To give you an analogy, it’s like a girl telling you she likes you but not enough to call you her boyfriend. Let that sink in for a while. Now you may be so infatuated with the young lady that you are willing to be her friend in hopes that someday she will grow to love you but there’s also the likelihood that you will be in the friend zone forever. In the midst of you chilling in the friend zone, friends and others may make fun of you asking you what the hell are you doing? Furthermore, you will have to sit back and watch her date other guys, most of whom you will think you are better than. How’s that for a mental visual?

Seemingly, it would take a whole lot of love to bury your pride, put in all that work and still be happy when you aren’t ultimately getting what it is you want.  With that in mind, two things need to happen.  First, if you are going to walk on somewhere you better love the school and the football program if you want to have a good experience.  Loving these things will make the work and not having a scholarship be OK.  Second, you should head into this walk on experience not expecting to ever get a scholarship.  It is tough to get mad at not getting something you didn’t expect to get in the first place.

Now, what I said may not seem like a champion mindset. I can understand that line of thinking.  However, the walk on experience is a different animal.  If you don’t have the appropriate mindset, you won’t survive.  For the most part, you are going to do all the work that the scholarship players are doing but at the end of the week,  you will not get what they get.  The scholarship players will get the playing time and the multitude of opportunities. Not to mention their books, their room, their board and their meals for free.  This will happen despite the fact that you may feel that you are better than the guys on scholarship.

The most effective way that I have seen guys obtain scholarships who have the actual ability to do so is by adopting the mindset I laid out previously in this article. Fall in love with the work, be in love with the game, become infatuated with the preparation and eventually talent meets opportunity. The other part is that some guys never do get the scholarship however they make some awesome connections that they end up using in their post college career.  Not to mention that they end up being a part of some thing great that they can remember for the rest of their lives.

So in summary, if you are going to go the walk on route, choose a school and a football program where you honestly feel you would enjoy the experience even if you never earned a scholarship. Falling short of that, you should walk on at a school where you are almost assured of earning a scholarship. That would be at a school that was extremely close to offering you one and for some unforeseen reason they were not able to at the moment. Choosing something that falls outside of those two places typically ends up in disappointment for the prospect.

Want A College Football Scholarship? Study the Field

By now you should know that in order to be successful you’re going to half to do some studying.  If you haven’t learned anything else in school, at least you’ve at least learned that.

It would be a shame if you didn’t take what you’ve learned in the classroom and apply it to other places in your life, most notably in the game of recruiting. What you should have also learned is that Recruiting is about competition. You have  little chance of succeeding over your competition if you have not studied it.  So with that in mind,  let’s talk about what that studying involves.

First of all you have to take stock of what the college programs you are interested in are recruiting. Take a look at their previous recruiting classes and see who they have signed from your position. What’s their height, weight and attributes.  Are they similar to yours? You don’t have to totally focus on the height aspect or the weight aspect, pay attention to the attributes.  You may not fit the bill when it comes to the height and weight but you may really have the traits that players they have recruited before have.  Make a full assessment of the type of players they like to have in their system.

One of the other things that I personally like to do is take a look at the top 100 list at the recruiting websites like Rivals and 247 Sports.  Looking at that gives you an idea of what it is college football programs would like to recruit. I am not just talking about the Power 5 programs,  I am also talking about the programs that are at the levels below that too.  Truth be told the lower level programs are trying every day to be the upper level programs.  So, this may seem foolish but they are trying to recruit the same kind of players even though they may have less of a chance of signing them.  Study what it is those players have and try to determine why they are so highly recruited.

Make sure while you are doing this that you aren’t getting too caught up in the things that you can’t control.  Again, height and weight are not the only factors to consider.  You should take a look at how athletic and how fast these prospects are. Also, how strong are they?  These are areas where you have more direct control and they should be the areas of your focus.  If your height and weight measures up to what the programs are recruiting, great! However, if you do not measure up there, please understand that you will have to have more of the other traits to be considered.

Another area where you can do some studying is at the off-season camps. Hopefully, you have been invited to them to participate. If you have,  while you are competing,  take note of the players you are going up against and in particular the ones that you know are highly recruited. Look at their intangibles. What is their attitude like? Are they highly competitive? Do they show leadership skills? Take note of these things and compare it to where you stand in those areas. Perhaps you can make some changes and improvements in those areas to capture the attention of the schools you would like to go to.

If you have, unfortunately, not been invited to the camps, I would not sit at home and pout. You would do well to go to the camp anyway and view it as a spectator. While you are doing that you can take notes on what is being done at the camp, See how guys perform and where it is you can fill in the gap. You will be that much better when you get invited to the camp next year.  If this was your last year then try to apply what you’ve learned from watching the highly recruited players at the camp to your preparation as you head into your final season.  Don’t underestimate your ability to make drastic improvements. You are still young and things can change rather quickly.

At the end of the day,  there are a bunch of players that would like to get the scholarship spots that you are vying for.  If you don’t do your due diligence and study those that you’re going up against, you put yourself at a disadvantage when the time comes to hand out offers and sign scholarships.