Track times were used because conditions are accurately monitored and are more uniform than somebody releasing a "so-and-so ran a 4.2-second 40-yard dash" which varies largely on the timer, the method used and the surface. If it's tough to get an accurate 40 time on soon-to-be pros (scouts have a dislike for Pro Day times, as opposed to the NFL Scouting Combine), then it's that much harder to get them on actual college players, or even high-schoolers headed to college.
1) Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas
A choice so obvious that a member of the media recently heard talking about the fastest players in the Big 12 said "he can't count, [that's] cheating." But Goodwin, an Olympic candidate in the long jump and who ran a sweltering fast 10.09 100-meter dash in high school (per ESPN's DyeStat, though Track and Field News had him at a still blazing 10.38), is more than just a track standout. Texas coach Mack Brown once said that he had 100-catch potential. Still, after his senior season, expect Goodwin to focus on track full-time. According to Track and Field News, he was the No. 3 ranked long-jumper in the U.S. in 2011.
2) Sheroid Evans, DB, Texas
The second of Texas's track/football standouts, Evans ran a blistering-fast 20.82 200 meters in high school, and his 10.39 100-mater dash was the fastest official time in the state of Texas in 2010. Evans started off at safety in Austin, but his size (at taller than 6-feet) and his speed earned him a tryout at cornerback this spring.
3) D.J. Monroe, RB/WR, Texas
Anybody who saw the Longhorns' loss to Oklahoma in 2010 came away knowing Monroe was fast, when he got the corner and blazed past the Sooner defense like they were standing still. And Monroe has the track times to back that speed up. He consistently clocked under 10.5 seconds in the 100-meter dash in high school, including a career best of 10.41 in 2008. The year before, his 10.48 time was the third-best official time in Texas.
4) Skye Dawson, WR, TCU
Texas fans are probably hoping that this year's Texas-TCU game gets moved to Dallas. Because Dawson, the Horned Frogs' top speedster clocked the fastest official time of his career, 10.43 seconds, at the Texas Relays, just a stone's throw from Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. That was the fourth fastest time of the year in Texas, with the aforementioned Goodwin narrowly edging him. Interestingly enough, those top four runners actually clocked faster times that year that were eliminated because of wind or no wind index present.
5) Trey Franks, WR, Oklahoma
Franks is the reason lists like this are so difficult. His Oklahoma profile credited Franks with a 10.15 100-meter dash, which would put him in contention for the league's fastest player. But there's no official record of it anywhere. And Franks did run a 10.28 100-meter dash, but there was no wind index on site. His fastest official time, according to Track and Field News is a 10.45, which is still plenty fast. But considering that we've gone from talking about the fastest guy in the league to middle of the top-10, it's a pretty significant drop off.
6) Deante' Gray, WR, TCU
Gray is an incoming freshman for the Horned Frogs. He also provides a unique problem to this list: while several runners have had their top times nixed because of wind or lack of a wind index, Gray has run a 10.55 100-meter dash that is official … because he ran it INTO the wind. So rather than having the wind at his back, he ran against the wind and still clocked sub-10.6 seconds? That's blazing fast, but the fact that it wasn't run under more ideal conditions makes you wonder just how fast he could have gotten. And there's a bit of guesswork here.
7) Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
The speedy return specialist actually has a faster official time than Gray at 10.5-flat, but the fact that Gray ran his 10.55 against the wind gives him the ever-so-slight edge. Gilbert also clocked a 21.29 official 200-meter dash and used that kind of speed to pick off five passes a year ago. Gilbert might be the seventh-fastest player here, but as an actual football player, he's up near the top of this list.
8) Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
More football player than track standout, the Oregon transfer still clocked an official 10.59 in the 100-meter dash as a sophomore in 2008. If Seastrunk concentrated more on track, it's safe to say that his times would have been even faster. As it is, he's blazing fast on the football field, and somebody who could be plenty dangerous in Baylor's spread offense.
9)Adrian Colbert, S, Texas
Before a senior season that saw him blow up as a football player, Colbert was set to attend Texas on a track scholarship. But after an outstanding year at Mineral Wells, Colbert will enroll at Texas with the goal of doing both sports. Colbert is one of the state's best runners in the 400 meters, and ran a 48.27 at the Texas 3A State Meet last year. This year, he's run as fast as 21.45 in the 200-meter dash (though there wasn't a wind index), which isn't really his event. If he's healthy, there's a legitimate chance for him to run in the 46-second range in the 400, which is pretty darned fast.
10) Tie: Tony Pierson, RB, Kansas; and Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
And this is the default spot for two of the Big 12's fastest players without track times. Instead, what we have here are on-field sightings (OK, that guy's fast) and "man, that guy's really fast" anecdotes. Without any actual track times, these players could be higher on this list, or they might not belong at all. But the eye test on each player says that they belong. And while there's a bit of bias because I've seen Pierson in person, and have only seen Austin on tape, I would give a slight edge to Pierson here. Regardless, both players boast explosive speed, and you shouldn't be shocked if they eventually clock a faster time at a place like the NFL Combine than the players above.