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: 3/03/24

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.

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.

245 thoughts on “The Fastest 40 Yard Dash Ever

  1. Remember it well. Loved the Rams at the time and loved the moment. Ron Brown was fast and there’s little doubt in my mind that he could run a sub 4.3 forty, accept I have no documentation of it.

  2. Kevin Curtis played for the Utah State Aggies, not Utah Utes.

  3. Thank you very much for all your years of excellent research and your very well written article. There’s just one all American and very famous Athlete not mentioned on your list, as I assume his 40 is not documented. EVERYONE’S FAVORITE: The one, and the only- “Mr. Forest Gump” 🙂 *Of course I’m kidding~ I just thought I add a bit of humor to your wonderful article. Ps: Patriots to win the 2011 Super Bowl! Bank on it. The word Team is synonymous with The NE Patriots. It’s my opinion that the Patriots since 2001 have changed how ALL professional sports Teams Think, and Act. ~ Best Regards!

  4. Chad, remember the Pats game a few years ago where Jim Nantz remarked on how fast the now ex-Patriot Randy Moss ran what I recall was 60 yards to catch a perfectly thrown ball- from the best QB ever, #12 Mr. TIM Brady?! It’s Not official of course, but Moss (in full uniform) sure had some wheels that Night!!! If I remember some-what correctly, they calculated Moss ran close to a sub 4.0/40! True or not, it sure is fun to watch these athletes blaze the field in the game we all find so much pleasure in. Chad~ thanks again for the great information, & ignore all the argumentative comments from people, you know! Be well, and let’s pray we have a full 2011 NFL season!

  5. …Tom Brady I ment!-Oops. These cell phone keys are just too small too type on, LOL! *Tom Brady deserves so much more credit/respect, but I know for a fact be doesn’t care what other people think~ which is what makes him a winner on and off the fieild, and a truly happy Person. And as great as stats are- its the RINGS that truly count. Brady will EARN at least two more! SO, GO PATS 🙂 …(America’s Team!)

  6. So Tony Dorsett is not blazing speed? You got to be kidding.He has plenty of proof of 4.3 speed just ask him.I watched the films and he made everyone around him look slow.

  7. In response to: “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.”

    OTHER PROBLEMS: First, the conversion is .24 seconds but subtracting that conversion would have no bearing here. If Green’s 40 yd. 4.18 was timed with a fully-automatic system set at 40 yards, then it IS a legit 4.18. The question would be, who would have set up a FAT (fully automatic timing) system at 40 yards? If it was a hand time 4.18, then you would round that time to the slowest 10th (to 4.2) and THEN ADD .24 seconds to arrive at a 4.44 conversion from hand to FAT. There are never hundreths of a second used in hand timing because one can NEVER press the start-stop buttons in the same identical time-frame under perfectly equal circumstances. The .24 conversion is used to off-set human reaction times in starting and stopping the hand-held watch vs. an electronic signal starting a FAT system and stopping when precisely ON the finish line, which will be slower and ACCURATE.

  8. Forgot to add, who would set up a FAT system at the 40 interval of a 60 dash at a normal track meet?

  9. Well that’s where the problem lies with your comment and observation. A FAT system was not set up at the 40 yard mark but rather, Green’s 40 yard time split was taken from video at a time after the completion of the race. More than likely, the distance was determined and video analyzed to get the split using a stopwatch. That would eliminate the FAT system and thus the .24 conversion instituted.

  10. Bo ran a 4.12 and he was SIX ONE 235

  11. @Chad Wilson when in high school know it cant be confirmed but i hav no reason to lie i consistently ran a 4 flat 40 an my friend ran a 3.9 40 consistenly he was 5 foot 5 125 pounds im 6 foot 160 but was ran in sneckers on the track

  12. @Mike Barry
    If you ask any NFL player what their 40 time was, you can safely bet the time will be inflated. There are plenty of RB’s in the NFL that were faster than Dorsett that aren’t even mentioned much; Curtis Dickey, OJ Simpson, Napoleon Kaufman, and Eric Dickerson. How many of them come up in a discussion of the NFL’s fastest? 1 maybe 2? I guess its a matter of what an individual considers blazing. If you consider Dorsett blazing, what would you call the top 10 on Chad’s list? Super blazing, double blazing, really really blazing? The guys at the top of this list have blazing speed. Unfortunately for you Dorsett fans, he’s not on this list.

  13. Kevin Curtis came out of Utah State, not Utah. He was an Aggie, not a Ute.

  14. James Jet ran a 4.19, he also outran Carl Lewis before

  15. Mike:

    I don’t remember James Jett’s 4.19 but having had to cover him in a game in 1993, I can fully believe it. If you can direct me to some documentation online of that time, I will change his time on the list.


  16. Good Article, but one thing we are not taking into account. The track runners are running off of a gun and the 40 yard times from football players are ran at their own leisure. By going off of a gun the time will be a little bit slower than if ran as a traditional 40 yard dash. I say decrease the track runners time by .2 seconds to account for the gun/human reaction time for take off.

  17. What about Clayton Holmes? I had the chance to play against him-in a poker tournament-and we had a chance to chat, I found him a humbled and sweet man. I had asked him if Deion was as “crazy fast” as he seemed, he answered yes almost apologetically, he had an endearing kindness about him. I liken myself a knowledgable sports fan but my knowledge of Clayton came after this encounter, I knew many of the cowboys from their golden era but was never a fan, at all. So I did my homework, I felt pretty dumb when I read Jeff Pearlman’s “From a Benz to a Bike,” a seemingly cliche story-bottom, top, bottom, trial to redemption-but no less sad or amazing (btw great article, props to Jeff). How did I have no recollection of him?! Regardless, I now knew why the heavyhearted man answered in such a fashion, he’s probably thinking if only things went differently this boy would be asking, “so Holmes, who’s faster you or Neon?”

    “4.23” is mentioned in the article along with reference to “Carl Lewis-esque athleticism.” Please Chad help me get Clayton on here if possible. I need redemption for my, “I will trade you a ring for my chip stack,” see article for realization of stupidity.

  18. For me Darrel Green is the top speedster, especially, after watching him run down opponents on the gridiron. What good is a list gridiron speedsters without these names of Willie Gault, Herschel Walker, and Rod Woodson, just a few other speedsters who still showcase their athletic ability and skill (see Wikipedia for each)!

  19. @Kane Kane I certainly remember Clayton Holmes and your argument for him holds some merit. I am going to research this and make a determination. Stay tuned.

  20. @DNice No official 40 yard dash times for Herschel Walker or Rod Woodson. I don’t think Woodson was a sub 4.3 guy. Willie Gault strangely enough may make this list by running a 4.27 two years ago at age 48. Stay tuned.

  21. Thanks Chad, the effort is appreciated!

  22. Chris Johnson is the fastest man to ever run at the NFL combine. Thats all that needs to be said. Dominic-Rogers Cromartie ran 4.28 the same year. Deion Sanders ran 4.27 at the combine and 10.18 at the Olympic trials in the first round, but had to report to the New York Yankees camp the next day. The only 40 yard dashes the should count, need to be timed at the NFL combine. There are only 7 times in the 4.2 range in the history of the combine. Bo did not run there.

  23. During the highest scoring Monday Night Football game, the commentors mentioned that Phillip Epps was the 5th fastest person in the history of mankind. If this wasn’t true, why would they mention it? I know he was fast, but I don’t know how fast. But I thought his name would be at number 5.

  24. Cool article. is the best website and one of the few sites I visit each day.

  25. Are these sub 4.3 times AFTER the subtraction of .25?

  26. Wasn’t much of a football player, but what about Renaldo Nehamiah?
    Or James Lofton who ran a 20.07 200 meters in college?

  27. I’ve known Randy Moss my whole life & at FSU he ran a 4.19 before he was dismissed from the team. It’s been well documented & should be added and updated to this list.

  28. Jeff Demps UF has to be on that list. A reported low of 4.18 but prob in the slightly under 4.3 all day long…also has anybody ever timed the second 40 on the 100 with a guy like carl lewis or Usain Bolt I would imagine that would be sub 4 as they stretched it out..

  29. Perhaps Jeff can run a 4.18 or a sub 4.3 forty yard dash but he has not done it yet in a way that it can be documented for me to add him to this list. I guess the NFL combine or his personal workout will answer this question for us. I will wait until then. I am guessing that he won’t go under 4.3 at the combine.

  30. Nole Devine WVU they say 4.34 so if u take the .25 from that he’s around 4.10! He might have ran
    it faster! Thanks for ur time

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  32. I found this article very interesting.i was wondering if Mercury Morris of the Dallas Cowboys had any stats.the more I read the article I figured out I was probably thinking of bob Hayes because I am watching the 2016 olympics and he was an Olympian.and since I grew up watching the Cowboys in the 60’s and 70’s and Mercury Morris was fast I started wondering and here we are.
    Looking forward to your answer.
    Roxanne Howard

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  34. Chad!
    Where are you? Did you get the last message? Are you still the moderator for this thread?

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