Like it or not, one of the most polarizing topics when it comes to evaluating football players is the 40-yard dash. Everyone checks a player's time in the 40, as it serves as the primary measurement of a player's speed.
Many will tell you that they don't put much weight in a player's 40-yard dash time, though, and they shouldn't. The only thing that matters is how fast a player plays on the field. However, players will always take pride in how fast they run the 40-yard dash.
The 2014 recruiting class has a ton of speed, and it's evident by some of the top recruit's times in the 40. A cornerback from Texas has a jaw-dropping time, while a receiver from the South lives up to his nickname. Also, several other players will surprise you by making this list.
Josh Malone is a 4-star receiver from Tennessee who has the potential to be a No. 1 target in college. At 6'2.5" and 190 pounds, he has no issues threatening safeties and making plays deep.
He ran a 4.49 40-yard dash at The Opening this summer, which is a bit of a shock. Malone shows great speed on tape, but that's a great time for a big-bodied receiver.
Florida State, Tennessee and Georgia are his top schools, says 247Sports.
Hampton clearly has the ability to patrol as a single-high safety, as his 40-yard dash time indicates he's a player who's capable of playing with tremendous speed and range. Hampton can also step on the gas and use his speed to quickly fill alleys from the third level of the defense.
Racean Thomas is a 5-star running back, and one of the reasons why is because he's incredibly fast. Thomas proved just how fast he is during timing for the 40-yard dash at The Opening, as he ran a 4.48.
At 5'11" and nearly 200 pounds, the Auburn commit has a great blend of quickness, explosiveness, strength and long speed. He can run by defenders in the box, burst upfield with a noticeable surge and also has good hands in the passing game.
Adams, who is 6'0" and 199 pounds, can play either safety spot for a defense. However, with the type of speed he has, playing cornerback may be a possibility. Adams has great instincts, athleticism and makes plays all over the field.
He is expected to sign with Florida or Texas, according to 247Sports.
Elijah Hood is not just your typical heavy-footed, average-speed-having power-back. The 4-star recruit has the speed to run away from defenders in the open field, evidenced by his 4.48 40-yard dash at The Opening.
At nearly 6'0" and 220 pounds, the North Carolina commit has great strength. Hood can be a bully with the ball, challenges defenders at the point of attack and runs tough. However, if he has a chance to square his shoulders to the goal posts, he has the speed to fly.
Chubb, who is 5'11" and 216 pounds, can rumble with speed for a big running back. He ran a 4.47 40-yard dash at The Opening this summer, which shows he is certainly a big-play threat. Chubb has solid power and agility, but his best asset may be his speed.
DeAndre Thompkins is a 4-star prospect who may get a look as a cornerback at Penn State.
That would be a mistake, as the 4.46 40-yard dash time he registered The Opening should be the deciding factor to leave him on offense.
Thompkins, who is from North Carolina, is 6'0" and 170 pounds. He can blow by cornerbacks on the perimeter, displays solid quickness to detach from defenders at junctions and has the speed to do some serious damage after the catch.
Although he is a 3-star cornerback, Terrence Alexander has 5-star speed. The 5'10", 180-pound New Orleans native has no issues carrying receivers deep or across the field in man coverage.
He needs to refine his technique, but Alexander's speed and quickness will always give him a chance to win matchups. He ran a 4.45 40-yard dash at The Opening, which was among the elite times in the nation, regardless of position.
Indiana is not one of the top states coaches go visit when searching for talent, but 4-star receiver Terry McLaurin is trying to change that. He's a 6'0", 190-pound speedster who posted a blazing 4.41 40-yard dash at The Opening.
With that kind of speed, McLaurin can eat up cushion in a flash, immediately threaten safeties and be lethal on go routes. He is committed to Ohio State, where head coach Urban Meyer will use him in different ways to exploit the various mismatches McLaurin's speed will create in the Big Ten.
Look for McLaurin to also be used on punt and kickoff returns.
It would have been surprising if 5-star running back Dalvin Cook was not on this list. Speed is his main asset as a runner, as the Florida commit shows an exceptional burst to and through creases.
At 5'11" and 190 pounds, Cook has a chiseled frame that will weigh more than 200 pounds before he arrives in Gainesville. However, even with the added bulk, he will immediately be one of the fastest players on the Gators' roster as a true freshman.
Cook ran a 4.46 40-yard dash at The Opening.
If a cornerback prospect wants to play in the pass-happy Pac-12, speed is one of the main things he needs for success.
Arrion Springs, a 4-star cover man who is headed to Oregon, checks out fine in the speed department. The Texas native stands 5'11", weighs 192 pounds and registered a 4.44 40-yard dash at The Opening in July.
Springs has the advantage of taking chances and gambling on plays, as he knows he has fantastic make-up speed to recover and reattach himself to a receiver on the perimeter.
His speed will allow the Ducks to deploy him to the field side (wide side of the field) in the secondary.
In fact, Jackson is so fast that he could warrant a serious look as a receiver, wherever he ends up. He has exceptional quick-twitch athleticism, is explosive in his movements and also has deceptive strength for a player his size.
Keep an eye of Florida, and look for Jackson to also run track in college.
Parris Campbell is a 4-star prospect who can play running back or receiver. Defenses have to know where he is at all times, because Campbell has the speed to score from anywhere on the field.
He displayed that speed at The Opening this summer, running a 4.41 40-yard dash. Campbell is lethal in a straight line, as he can run by a group of defenders and skate for touchdowns.
He is committed to Ohio State and will be one of the fastest players in the Big Ten the day he signs his national letter of intent.
With a name like Speedy Noil, one can't be slow.
The 5-star recruit clearly understands that, as evidenced by the 4.40 time he posted in the 40-yard dash at The Opening.
Noil, who is from New Orleans, is not just some guy who can time and test well, he's a versatile football player.
At nearly 5'11" and 176 pounds, he can play quarterback, running back, receiver, defensive back and return kicks and punts. He is a jet with the ball who can fire upfield, scoot past defenses and make people look silly in the open field.
Pound for pound, there may not be a faster player in the country with the ball in his hands than Noil.
At 6'0" and 185 pounds, Curtis Samuel is a 4-star recruit who can make dazzling plays with his speed. He can burst upfield, quickly jump on top of defenders in alleys and has the wiggle to elude tackles in space.
Samuel sizzled the track by running a 4.36 40-yard dash at The Opening in July. The Ohio State commit is a versatile offensive weapon who can play running back or receiver and flashes the skills to be a great punt-returner.
Ohio State is getting several players with excellent speed in its recruiting class, and Samuel may be the fastest.
Tony Brown is an accomplished sprinter on the track and field circuit, and his speed shows on tape. The 6'0", 188-pound Texas native is physical at the line, but he has the ability to easily recover downfield.
Brown is perhaps the fastest "elite" recruit in the country, as the 5-star prospect ran a 4.35 40-yard dash at The Opening this summer. He has wonderful size, great strength for a defensive back and also plays with terrific instincts.
Brown is going to be a great defensive back in college, but also expect him to become one of the nation's top kickoff returners.
Many of the nation's fastest players can be found by using the 2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map! This is a great resource for information on the elite recruits in the country!