The Fastest Recruits from the Class of 2011

I thought I’d get an early jump on my annual fastest players in college football list by ranking the swiftest recruits from the class of 2011.

This might require you to temporarily suspend your belief that all reported 40-yard dash times are accurate.  Hate to break it to you, but most players do not run 4.4 or better.  Many 40 times are either fudged or improperly recorded.  That’s why the most reliable and accurate indicator of true speed is–and always will be–track marks.

For instance, there have been many reports that Oregon recruit Tacoi Sumler might be this year’s fastest recruit based on his 40 time of 4.24.  But his best verified 100m time is 10.80.  Now, it could well be that he runs a very fast 40 and a not-very-fast 100.  But when you are comparing speed, you have to compare apples to apples.  Track times are run under similiar conditions and on similiar surfaces with legitimate timing devices.  Forty-yard dashes are run on a wide array of surfaces, under widely varying conditions (no wind is ever recorded, for instance) and recorded without standard devices, which usually results in some inaccuracies.   This is not to say that a player isn’t fast because he doesn’t have a track mark.  It’s just acknowledging that track marks are the best way to quantify and then compare what we know about players and their speed.

Now, the list, which only includes players who have signed to date.  Keep in mind that most of these guys still have another track season to go, so this list could shift by the time fall comes around:

1. Miles Schuler, WR, Rutgers–Schuler has a best of 10.39 in the 100 meters as a junior in high school.  I give him the nod over Evans below due to his ability to pull that time off in a cold weather state like New Jersey.  If he had the benefit of more training days in warm weather, he would likely have even faster times.  As it stands, he is a highly-overlooked talent who should shine for the Scarlet Knights.

2. Sheroid Evans, CB, Texas–Evans also has a best of 10.39 in the 100m and adds to that a 20.82 in the 200m.  He also is a standout in the intermediate hurdles.  Might be a better overall athlete than anyone on this list, which is why he’s slated for cornerback for Texas.

3. Damiere Byrd, CB, South Carolina–Byrd had a best time of 10.42 in the 100m and should line up at cornerback and also serve as a dangerous return man for the Gamecocks.

4. Mike Bellamy, RB, Clemson–Bellamy is one of the more highly-recruited running backs in the country and he is a true breakaway threat with a best of 10.51 in the 100m.

5. Romar Morris, RB, North Carolina–A diminutive running back headed to UNC, he’s got a best of 10.54 in the 100m.

6. De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon–The Black Mamba has a best of 10.57 in the 100 meters and 21.01 in the 200m.

7. George Farmer, WR, USC–The nation’s top receiver recruit has blazed a 10.55 in the 100m and has gone as low as 10.40 wind-aided.

8. George Atkinson, DB, Notre Dame–Atkinson, who best projects to safety, has a best of 10.61 in the 100m.

9. Dallas Burroughs, WR, Boise State–Burroughs has a best of 10.63 in the 100m and is a good bet to be the next Bronco breakaway threat about whom everyone will ask “Where did he come from?”

10. Justin Scott-Wesley, WR, Georgia–Scott-Wesley has a best of 10.66 in the 100m.

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26 Responses to The Fastest Recruits from the Class of 2011

  1. Andy February 4, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    The time you have for Sumler was from more than two years ago. He had an electronic timed 40 of 4.33 last year.

    • Heismanpundit February 4, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

      Can you tell me where the 40 was run, how it was timed, the surface he ran it on, what shoes he was wearing and what the wind reading was?

      See, this is the problem with 40 times. The conditions in which they are run are a mystery.

      • WCo April 4, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

        It seems that these factors would also apply to track meets, where wind is a factor (although often taken into consideration at major track meets and recorded with the times). In addition, a track surface offers more suitable conditions than a football field since the soft surface will make one have a slower 40 yard dash time. The biggest impact in comparing track times and 40 times is the fact that a track race is run off the gun, rather than the 40 yard dash being run when one is ready and decides to go. I think there are more factors here, but I definitely agree that most 40 times are fudged and the reaction time of the timer is key, as well as his anticipating someone crossing the finish line. I think 40’s should be recorded on a consistent camera setting (for example 30 fps) and then submitted. There is an issue with this, however of people trying to speed their times up through editing material. Just a few thoughts. I like that you bring up how often the number is fudged. Thanks for the insight even though I am responding a few years late.

  2. JMod February 4, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    Brendon Bigelow, RB, Cal–He ran a 10.57 100m, although it was in 2009 and he has had leg surgery since so who knows if it holds…

    #20 –

    Just out of curiosity, what is the most reliable place to get high school track athlete times?

  3. Heismanpundit February 4, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    I’m definitely aware of Bigelow, but his injury keeps him off.

    The two best places to get reliable marks are Track and Field and

  4. James February 4, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    Are any of these track times recorded with the athlete wearing a football uniform? Or a ball in his hands. Is anyone chasing him? Does a tenth of a second mean he can be caught over a 30, 40, 50 yard difference?

    Track speed does not equal football speed.

  5. Heismanpundit February 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    Track speed almost always equals football speed. What it doesn’t equal is football ability or football instincts. Some guys have it and some don’t.

    But look at Shuler’s tape. He’s got football speed up the wazoo.

    Speed is like height. It’s just a measurment of a single unit. Some guys are taller in their helmets, too.

  6. CLDuck February 4, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    You didn’t share the specific information for the 100m runs either, just as you said the info on 40m runs was not shared. So what’s the difference?

    As a high school player, I was very very quick. I literally could blow anyone away in 20 yards. But then I topped out and they would pull away. 100m? Ha, don’t even ask, but, I was in the opponent’s backfield before they made the handoff many times. There is short quick and there is long fast. You should recognize this as a difference. 100m times don’t mean squat for football. Give a big semi a push down the hill and it will start slow but really be going at the end. The light little sports car might start out quick, but doesn’t have the weight to go very fast. Who do you want in your backfield?

  7. Ray February 4, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    Great info all but I have to add what if they don’t run track, there are plenty of fast players that are FB fast!

    I also agree with the above poster that 100m times are the favorite in Track but not so in FB, what is important in FB is 10/20/30/40 times and shuttle times…but its all good as long as my team wins, a persons 40 or 100m time is irrelevant!

  8. HP February 4, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    CLduck, the info is readily available. All races are run on basically the same type of surface, all use electronic timing and all use a wind gauge. The people who beat you after 20 yards probably had faster 100m times than you did.

    Ray, this is about accurately quantifying who the fastest players actually are. Without this data, it’s just subjective and according to the eye of the beholder. And there is a clear correlation between 100m times and football speed, otherwise you wouldn’t see so many fast players with track times. Furthermore, 100m times correlate to speed at 40 yards. You can’t run a 10.5 without running a 4.4 or better. Conversely, if you run an 11.5, you aint’ running a real 4.4.

  9. Rick February 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    for all of you that know more about this stuff than I, does it really matter in a game if a player runs the 100 in 10.39 vs 10.63?? I mean, 1/4 of 1 second difference to cover the entire length of a football field?

  10. CLDuck February 4, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    The first runner is at fifteen mph after one second but never goes faster than that. The second runner who runs 15 mph at 2 seonds and 20 mph at 3 seconds will catch #1 quickly and pass him going away. But who will be the terror on your line or running through your line, the 100m winner or the other guy? 100m times don’t necessarily correlate to football fast and saying so doesn’t make it so. Slow starters don’t get up to speed.

  11. Hassan February 5, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    HP, you are doing a good job with the speed info. I have been watching your list for a long time. Make sure you pay attention to my Beloved Hurricanes. travis Benjamin just broke Santana Moss”s school record in the 60 M the first race of the year he turned in a 6.70 60M. Miami Central Recruit Thomas Finnie is pretty fast maybe he can be honorable mention, He finished 2nd in the state 100m runs a 10.74 100M and a 21.37 200M

  12. Armen February 6, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    Off course the speed is thery important, but there are more criterias that make the football player a professional

  13. AUman76 February 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    why talk about a player’s speed on the track? If you wanna know what their football speed is it’s simple…suit em up in full gear put a football under their arm and time em! 40yds,100yrds doesn’t matter because both distances are within the boundry of the playing field.
    My other question is why so lil talk about recruiting and the classes teams haul in? When it comes to recruiting it seems you’ve been on hiatus HP?

  14. HP February 7, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    In the real world, we have races that actually involve football players and we are able to time them. If you are able to create a race where we can time football players against each other in their gear, I’d love to see that data. But we don’t have that. Feel free to get that going!

  15. Grandpa February 7, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    Nike holds Sparq combines all over the country using standardized timing and scoring methods. The best performers from around the country were invited to Beaverton for a Sparq championship.

    Your number 1 & 3 Shuler and Byrd both competed. On the same surface with the same electronic timing system Tacoi Sumler won both the timed 40, the Shuttle and then a match race against the top 5 performers. The video is readily available.

    What better measure is there than actual football distance events with the top candidates going head to head?

  16. HP February 7, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    Nike may use standardized timing methods, but they aren’t necessarily accurate. The digital timers are still manually started by a human starter when the runner begins his race. This leads to variations in times between races. Also, the times are run on varying surfaces–some are indoor, some outdoor–and no wind indicator is given. Furthermore, some guys run in cleats and some guys run in sneakers. Such lack of uniformity results in disparities that can’t be adjusted.

    As for a head-to-head race, I’ve looked in vein for this ‘readily available’ video and can’t seem to find it anywhere. I can find almost zero after-the-fact coverage of this combine at Beaverton on the internet, in fact. If you can point me in the right direction, I’d love to see it.

  17. HP February 7, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    One other thing. Some guys are quick and some guys are fast. There are many players who are very quick in the first 40 yards and then get caugh from behind because they peter out. The purpose of gauging who is the fastest player is to find out who is the fastest overall, not just the quickest over a portion of the field.

  18. MdoubleU February 8, 2011 at 9:40 am #

    Just as HP has mentioned, 100 times absolutely translate on to the field. However, you have to understand that football speed also correlates to the physical shape a player is in, the amount of stamina a player has. What kind of conditioning he has been through? What does this kid do in the off season? How does he nourish his body? Can he get off the blocks? How does he finish? When the kid wins the race is he an A-Hole? What his mental focus and agility is like? It gives the recruiter an idea of how hard this kid has/will push his body.

    The numbers mean more than just the number. You have to believe me that the recruiters can tell what kind of runner a kid is within the first 2 secs of the race on how a young man holds his head and where his chest is right off the blocks. They will watch those first two secs of the race over and over and over again.

  19. gpo February 10, 2011 at 8:43 am #

    Thanks HPundit for supplying these stats. I like them and over the years you have educated me about 40 times. I appreciate it. Guys, HP is just trying to tell you who the fastest recruit is. Not the best. Oh, I like how everyone says put a football in the kid’s arm and see how fast he runs. Well, basically only a RB and maybe a QB runs most of the time with the ball. Even a WR does little running with the ball. DBs won’t have the ball in his hands more than a handful of times.

    Exactly lets suit all the kids up and get electronic timing devices and see.

  20. Aaron April 6, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    Dallas Burroughs ran a 10.38 so you might want to change your leader board, just saying.

    • Aaron April 6, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

      sorry for the 2012 fastest players, forgot to put in that note.

    • Heismanpundit April 6, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

      I’ll reflect that on the 2012 overall fastest players list. Unfortunately, time catches up to these posts!


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