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: 3/7/22:  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. Great info to the creator! Something not talked about is the “pro agility drill”. It is a total of 20 yards, where you start at the 5 yard line on a field, turn and run to the goal line, touch it, turn back to the 10 yard line, touch it, and finish back where you started at the 5 yard line. I ran this drill in 1984 Michigan football camp and raced a guy named Anthony Carter. We both ran sub-4 seconds (like 3.97). Now this is a cool drill, that some say should be around your 40 time. For me, it was my strength, the starting and stopping,because I only ran a 4.5 electronic 40 time.

  2. There has been some unbelievably fast players, but as a former college football player and sports enthusiast, I think Deon Sanders was the most unbelievable athlete of my time. I think head to head he could have beaten anybody. They asked him once if he still is the fastest and what his time is. He replied with, “I don’t know the time, but it’s a step ahead of the next fastest guy!”



  5. Saying Dorsett was not blazing fast has to be one of the dumbest things posted on the internet.

  6. Chad:

    Great article and a great list. Being an old track coach though most football 40’s were really overstated. Or understated – how ever you want to look at it. The official times or split times with Accutrack are the only ones that matter. The rest is just fluff.

  7. Olympic gold metalist in the 4x100m relay and LA Raider/Ram has to be on there he clocked in at 4.25 in the 40 while he was with the rams and won the NFL Fastest man title in 87! Also he was a photo finish second to Darrell Green another year!! His 100 meter time is 10.06! Also Willie Gault ran a 4.22 with the Bears and has a 10.01 100 meter time! If Don Beebe is on this list why can’t guys with proven world class Olympic speed be there???

  8. Ron Brown is who I’m talking about in the previous post and go onto youtube and type in ron brown gault and you will see him beat Willie Gault among others in old nfl fastest man competitions! Guy is blazing fast!

  9. Mr. TONYD33,
    In response to your posting on October 5th, 2010 at 06:29:

    “Saying Dorsett was not blazing fast has to be one of the dumbest things posted on the internet”.

    I am just stating the facts. As good as Dorsett, Payton, E. Smith, & Sanders were, NONE had blazing speed. All were unbelieveably quick. So to say that stating a fact is dumb, maybe you should look at some old footage of Dorsett in action.

  10. Dorsett ran a 4.3 at age 34 with the Broncos. That is documented in Sports Illustrated. That is blazing speed in the NFL even today. You don’t know your football. I have 25 complete games on film of Dorsett – with Dallas and Denver so you can’t tell me anything about looking at footage. I also saw Dorsett play in the 70s and 80s so I know what I am talking about first hand – not fom hearsay. I know what the hell I am talking about. I also have the game in which Darrell Green caught Dorsett so I can see the entire play befre the snap – which shows when ahd where Green started running. He was certainly blazing fast. Even if he was faster than Dorsett, intelligent people have to admit that he did have an angle because he crossed the field. The fact that he was on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage some 5 – 10 yards back and Dorsett was on the Offensive side of the line some 5-10 yards in the backfield makes the distances they both travelled very different and favors Green as he was already up field – albeit on the opposite end of the formation – before the ball was snapped. As Dorsett has said, he was at the line making people miss while Green took a great angle and started running in a straight line in anticipation of Dorsett breaking it up te sideline. I give Green credit – it was a good play. If he had caught Robert Newhouse on that play, we wouldnt still be talking about it. It was a great play because Dorsett was blazing fast.

  11. Everyone has an opinion and everyone see’s things differently. A Cowboy fan says Green had an angle. A Redskin fan says Green was behind and came across the field plus ran a longer way than Dorsett. And still caught him.
    I read your SI story. No where in there is it confirmed that Dorsett ran a fully automatic 4.3. That 4.3 time was mostlikely a hand time from a coach, who really wanted Dorsett to run that fast.
    I think you should re-watch the film of Green catching Dorsett again. I don’t know what film you were looking at. Green was not ahead of Dorsett at all. Any intelligent person knows the shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line. To have an angle on someone, you have to be ahead of them. And Dorsett was by no means geared down. He was being chased by 2 other Redskins, who by the way, where on his heels. Green was behind both of them, and they were behind Dorsett. Green ran past them to get Dorsett. Yes your precious Dorsett was fast, but still not blazing fast. When you find a “confirmed automatic” not hand timed 40 for Dorsett, please repost. And please post your version of that play I’d like to see it.

    P.S. Newhouse would have been caught by the 2 Skins chasing Dorsett so Green wouldn’t have had to exert himself.

  12. This is a youtube video link.

    At 22 seconds into the video, it pauses. That point shows that Dorsett was ahead of Green by a yard and Green was about 5 yards to Dorsett’s inside. So in a race to the extreme left side of the goal line, Dorsett, who is in full stride, has the advantage having a shorter distance to run to score. So, Green was not already upfield. Also, from what I see in the video, Dorsett did not have to make anyone miss. He went through the line, dipped to the outside and was off to the races. Green was on the other side of the field guarding a receiver first before he joined the chase. He wasn’t keying on Dorsett from the snap of the ball.
    I still say as fast a Dorsett was, he was not someone who would come up in a conversation of NFL’s fastest men. Only the blazing fast would.

  13. Ted Ginn Jr. recorded a time of 4.15 electronic verified by a dozen nfl scouts

  14. @Kit Sanders
    Kit, I used to be a teammate of Jett on the track team. I held his blocks when he ran a 19.98 200m. I watched him run a sub 4.2 40. I think it was 4.17, but can’t be sure…I know it was sub 4.2. I witnessed it. He had more natural speed than any human I’ve ever seen.

  15. Hey guys,

    Where is Herschel Walker on your list? He ran a 4.24 when he was a freshman at uga. He also ran a 10.10 100 meter.

  16. ugadog34,

    I researched Mr. Walker’s times in the 100. I found times for the 100yard dash. I did not find any verified times in the 100meter dash. According to the track & field governing body, the IAAF, Walker never ran 10.1 in the 100m. I’m sure that Chad will require some verification of the 4.24 40 time in order for Mr. walker to make this list. If you have it, please submit it. We all know Walker had blazing speed.

  17. We all know Herschel was fast but Sydney is right, i have no verification of a 4.24 or any forty time on Herschel Walker for that matter. Although Herschel was fast he does look like a guy who may not have gotten out fast enough to run a sub 4.3. That may be why we never heard of a 40 time on him.

  18. Chad,
    You saw the comments posted by TonyD33 and my responses. What are your thoughts about that subject?

  19. Excellent analysis and reporting, thank you for the info !

  20. you really need to investigate the times of ex ram Ron Brown in the 80’s. He was a track star at Arizona and recorded close to 4.08 times in the 40.
    Don’t know if they were spikes or cleats. He won NFL’s fastest man in 87 with a 60 yard time ov 6.18

  21. Could you provide the year in which the time took place?


  22. I’m pretty sure Ron Brown was the fastest 100 meter dash guy in the NFL. He was an Olympic Gold medalist in the relay.

  23. Ok boys I have done some extensive research and have come up with a very impressive list, with some surprises. All of these times ARE verified.
    Jim Hines 9.95 9/14/1968 (Dolphins 1969 – Chiefs 1970)
    John Capel 9.95 6/19/2004 (FL Gators) Drafted by Bears 2001
    Trindon Holliday 10.00 twice 6/10&12/2009 (Texans)
    Jeffrey Demps – 10.01 6/28/2008 (FL Gators)

    Jacoby Ford – 10.01 6/10/2009 (Raiders)
    Bob Hayes – 10.06 10/15/64 (Cowboys 1965-74 – 49ers 1975)
    Ron Brown – 10.06 8/24/83 (Rams 1984-89 & 91 – Raiders 1990)
    Alvis Whitted – 10.07 7/15/96 (Jaguars 1998-01 – Raiders 2002-06)
    Darrell Green – 10.08 4/13/83 (Redskins 1983-2002)
    Sam Graddy – 10.09 5/12/84 (Broncos 1987-88 – Raiders 1990-92)

    Willie Gault – 10.10 6/5/1982 (Bears 1983-87 – Raiders 1988-93)
    Michael Bennett – 10.18 5/20/2000 (Vikings/Saints/Chiefs/Bucs/Chargers/Raiders)
    Cj Spiller – 10.29 5/30/2008 (Bills) [10.22 in his Clemson bio]
    Jerome Mathis – 10.40 5/14/2005 (Texans 2005-07 – Redskins 2009 – CFL current)
    James Trapp – 10.47 5/16/93 (Raiders 1993-98 – Ravens 99-02 – Jaguars 2003)
    Chris Johnson – 10.66 5/08/2004 (Titans 2008–present) [10.5 the same year unconfirmed]
    Main Source; International Association of Athletics Federations. website:
    The times below are not recognized by the I.A.A.F.
    Cliff Branch (Raiders) – 10.0 6/1/1972 Hand timed [Colorado Buffaloes web site]
    Curtis Dickey (Colts) – 10.11 1978 NCAA Champs []
    Marcus Robinson – 10.21 1996 NCAA Champs
    Curtis Conway – 10.49 1989 Calif. State champs []

  24. Jadarius West ran 4.28 as a highschooler (10th grade)., at highschool combind

  25. Sir: I witnessed Leon McQuay ,a Tampa U College player ,in 1972, run a timed and measured 40 yd dash at 3.99. He had tract shoes and ran on a track. Leon was a freak if there was one-soecially tailored trousers to go over his thighs.I think he was the first to do that anywhere. Leon went on to the Canadian League for several years on special teams and finished up his career with San Francisco.Check it out.

  26. Herschel should be here. His 60 yard dash times (standard indoor race in college at that time) and 100 yard dash times were better than Bo JacksOn’s times in same races. Both ran track in college so this is very easy to verify.

    Auburn fans hate to admit this but, but Bo never ran as fast as Herschel. And that’s fact not opinion.

  27. Sorry, but these numbers are unverified BS, like most 40 times. Bo Jackson couldn’t run a 4.12 in his fantasies, much less in real life. Herschel Walker was faster than Bo at 100m, and proved it. Hell, Usain Bolt aint running no 4.12. If he can’t, Bo Jackson sure as hell can’t.

  28. I don’t know what Willie Gault’s 40 time was but I do know that he ran a 10.10 100 meter dash! So i’d imagine he would’ve cracked the 4.3’s and would like you to look into it and see what you can find if you’d be so kind! He also set the 100m and 200m Master’s record for men age 45-49 with times of, 10.73 100m and a 21.80 200m on April 26th, 2008! So I know that last part has nothing to do with his 40 but the first part does and I do know watching him that he flew and think if you could dig, you’d find that if he could run a 10.10 100m, then he should have been able to cracked the 4.3’s! Hope you can find a 40 time for him! And Jacoby ford was the National Champion in the 60m dash just as a Raider’s fan I thought i’d throw that out there:)

  29. Bo could go! He ran that 4.12! I have no doubt because his acceleration was freakish despite his 100m being 10.39 which is still very fast! 100m and 40yds are two different things and come down to acceleration as opposed to top speed!

  30. Great article. I ran D1 track for Berkeley (sprints) and you are right on the money concerning verifiable times. I still think Bob Hayes was the fastest NFL player of all time, but not by much over Darrel Green or Deion. Bo jackson had fast initial burst speed, but lost momentum early (hence his relatively “slow” 100m time). Wes Walker of Berkeley had a reported 40 time of 4.21, and has a legit 100M time of 10.21 (on the Berkeley track board). BTW, anything under 10.30 for 100M is considered world class.

  31. I saw and took the snapshot of Hershel Walker and Willie Gault photo finish race at the Challenge of the Superstars in Key Biscayne, Florida in April ?, 1987. I Don’t know the time but it was fassst.

  32. Daryl Green still compete in masters track in field if you want to have imagination on how fst he was in his primes. 4.1 I would not believe is a stetch from this guy and I have run and coached track my entire life.

  33. @michael

    Wesley Walker was fast but no documentation on his 40 time anywhere that I have looked. Another Jet Johnny ‘Lam’ Jones was faster than Walker but again, no documentation of his time.

  34. Hey chad, just a quick note, if im not mistaken, im pretty sure maurice greene’s 60m WR time was 6.39, not 6.33. Not a big deal, but i figured with all the attention to detail and accuracy you used in this blog you would want to know this, also, just in case you didn’t hear (tho im sure you did) trindon holliday finally got 10 flat in the 100m his senior year 2 summers ago. And during a broadcast of a vikings game a few years back, one of the announcers commented on how Michael bennett ran a 9.99 100m. dont know if it was official tho.

  35. What about Ike Taylor? I read somewhere he ran a sub 4.3 on his pro day at louisiana-lafayette.

  36. Kevin Curtis played for the Utah State Aggies. Not the Utes from the University of Utah.

  37. Kevin Curits played at Utah State, not Utah.

  38. what about ol percy harvin? his combine 40 sucked at 4.41 but he reportedly ran a 4.24 while at florida, i remember seeing it in locker room photos. i dunno if thats legit to be official time or not, it seems like the florida dudes have their stuff together down there though. he’s also my favorite college player ever and the dude is insanely fast. watch the clip of him run an 80 yd stunt against south carolina in 2008 pass and gain 10 yards on captain munnerlin and you wouldnt doubt that 4.24….also the 5 gold medals he got in high school track. or just watch his nfl kick off returns haha.

  39. Percy Harvin is fast and is probably capable of a sub 4.3 but he didn’t do at the combine and other than running it at UF, has not done it anywhere else that I can document. I don’t want to take times from college test with strength coaches. Sometimes there’s an agenda there. There are a couple of University of Miami sub 4.3’s timed by school personnel that I haven’t put on the list.

  40. Remember the Monday Night Football Gamae Ron Brown took a kickoff back for TD and out ran darrel Green (barly) in the process.

Leave a Reply