CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The fastest players in the country show up every year at the Miami NIKE Training Camp. So what better place to unveil a revolutionary way to time players in the 40-yard dash? That's what happened at Sunday's NIKE Camp at the University of Miami when SPARQ Timing was put to the test and plenty of players passed with blazing fast and accurate times.
"The 40-yard dash has been around for almost 40 years and the way that it's been timed has never been changed or made football friendly," Student Sports president Andy Bark said. "SPARQ came to us and said the way they are timed are antiquated and it's never changed. The NFL Combine uses electronic timing, but these guys are not trained to run like track athletes.
"They're football players, and they're taught to do everything on movement. So SPARQ set out and developed a way to do it right. The NIKE Camps are No. 1 in the country in testing and training high school football players, and we wanted to get this thing right."
The SPARQ Timing system begins at the start of the 40-yard dash line where a timer has an electronic joystick that signals the initiation of the sprint on the player's movement. The timer at the start of the 40 is a new set up, instead of having timers at the event of the line trying to squint and see if the player has moved yet. The players' times are then recorded when they cross a laser beam at the end of the 40 yards.
"The laser finish, you can't question it," Bark said. "There is no cheating, no lack of authenticity. The laser works for eye surgery, and we think it's going to work for the 40-yard dash."
The laser ending eliminates any potential for a timing error.
"It takes away that blur zone," Bark said. "If you've ever time a 40 at an event like this and you often will have five guys run by you. You have to react and say, 'which guy was mine?' That's eliminated in this SPARQ Timing and created the most accurate testing option in this industry."
The more accurate SPARQ Timing didn't change the fact that Miami is home to the fastest players in the nation. Some argue that electronic timing is slower, but tell that to the 10 players that finished with 4.44-second times or fastest.
Junior-to-be running back Armando Allen (5-9, 181) of Hialeah Miami Lakes had the fastest time of the camp with a 4.31 time. He was followed by Tampa Hillsborough quarterback Jarred Fayson, who was a hair behind at 4.32 seconds. DeMarcus Roberson (5-10 ½, 170) of Sunrise (Fla.) Piper was next at 4.34, followed by Kevin Holloway of Hollywood (Fla.) Parkway Academy at 4.35 and Ricky Neaves of Cooper City, Fla., at 4.37.
Three players dueled for the camp's top SPARQ Rating as Fayson, Hollyway and Neaves all finished with just over 91 in the SPARQ Rating. In the end, Fayson took home the day's top SPARQ Rating at 91.63 on the strength of a 4.32 40, a 4.01 shuttle and a 35.9-inch vertical jump. Fayson also bench-pressed 185 pounds 17 times. Holloway and Neaves finished just behind Fayson, at 91.37 and 91.26 respectively.
Defensive tackle Trevis Hodges of Sanford (Fla.) Seminole had the top bench press when he pushed up 46 repetitions. Holloway had the top vertical at 37.8 inches. Receiver Kenbriel Thompkins of Miami Northwestern had the top shuttle time of 3.88 seconds.