The broad jump is one of a handful of tests generally used to evaluate potential college football players. So, as a high school recruit, I understand the curiosity about what is considered a good broad jump.
I went through 20 years of data on college football broad jumps with teams that I’ve worked with and have broken it down by position into ranges of what’s considered “good”.
Before we get into the numbers, please understand that “good” is relative. For example, if you’re a high school sophomore you may not quite stack up to the numbers listed below and that’s okay. You still have a lot of development and maturing to do and your broad jump will improve quite a bit over the next couple of years.
Next, while these are broken down by position, size is still a huge factor when evaluating what a good broad jump is. I’ve coached Defensive Ends who were 215 pounds and I’ve coached Defensive Ends who were 285 pounds. All else being equal, a 215-pound athlete is likely to have a much better Broad Jump.
Broad Jump Numbers By Position
|College Broad Jump Ranges by Position|
|Quarterback||< 7’11||7’11 – 8’4||8’5 – 8’10||8’11 – 9’5||> 9’5|
|Running Back||< 8’1||8’1 – 8’7||8’8 – 9’0||9’1 – 9’7||> 9’7|
|Wide Receiver||< 8’8||8’8 – 9’1||9’2 – 9’6||9’7 – 9’11||> 9’11|
|Tight End||< 7’9||7’9 – 8’2||8’3 – 8’8||8’9 – 9’3||> 9’3|
|Offensive Line||< 7’4||7’4 – 7’8||7’9 – 8’2||8’3 – 8’9||> 8’9|
|Safety||< 8’8||8’8 – 9’1||9’2 – 9’6||9’7 – 9’11||> 9’11|
|Cornerback||< 8’9||8’9 – 9’2||9’3 – 9’7||9’8 – 10′||> 10′|
|Linebacker||< 8’3||8’3 – 8’8||8’9 – 9’1||9’2 – 9’6||> 9’7|
|Defensive Ends||< 7’10||7’10 – 8’3||8’4 – 8’9||8’10 – 9’3||> 9’3|
|Defensive Tackles||< 7’6||7’6 – 7’11||8’0 – 8’5||8’6 – 8’11||> 8’11|
The terminology I used for each category was Reserve, Starter, All-Conference, All-American and NFL Athlete. These are just categories that I found resonated well with our players. They don’t carry any deeper analytical meaning though. They could easily be Elite, Above Average, etc.
The number ranges were based on NFL Combine Data, testing data that our coaching staff had acquired in their careers and feedback we received from peers in the strength and conditioning field.
Also, when looking at the category ranges understand that they are not designed to be evenly distributed. Most of the guys on our team would fall into the Starter or All-Conference categories. Fewer players would achieve All-American level and fewer still would reach NFL Athlete.
Why Do Colleges Test Broad Jump?
At every college that I worked at, each year we would have about half a dozen camps on campus. Other than height, weight and reach there were usually only two physical tests given – the 40 and the Broad Jump.
Broad Jump is a really good indicator of power and explosiveness. Data I’ve collected over the years has shown a strong correlation between Broad Jumps, horizontal force production and acceleration ability. Studies have shown this as well.
But, the reason it’s used so often by colleges goes beyond the data that it can provide. The Broad Jump test is quick and it’s accurate.
I’ve been a part of camps that had over 500 players at it. Even with a large amount of staff, testing 500-plus athletes quickly and efficiently can be a challenge.
The Broad Jump is easy to set up, easy to do and doesn’t require any resetting between attempts (the way a Vertec does for vertical jumps). This allows for a large number of athletes to test in a relatively short amount of time.
Second, the Broad Jump is accurate. There will be multiple stations of Broad Jump set up at a college camp, all run by different coaches. While coaches may differ with a stopwatch and some equipment like a jump mat can be inaccurate, a Broad Jump is easy to measure and very reliable. This leads to better quality in the final data.
These are the reasons you should expect to be tested when at a college camp.
How Can I Improve My Broad Jump?
So, if you know you’re going to be tested in the Broad Jump, what are some ways you can improve your jump?
While some testing events like the 40 can be improved through technique, the broad jump is more of a pure physical ability test. Yes, a few practice sessions won’t hurt, but to improve your Broad Jump, you need to improve your ability to produce force.
This can be done through a combination of getting stronger and more powerful in the weight room and utilizing plyometrics to help learn how to apply that force.
I’m a big believer in using the Olympic lifts (ex. Power Clean, Hang Snatch) to develop power in athletes. I’m also a big believer in building a foundation of strength and then ultimately incorporating velocity-based training to maximize power output ability.
If you’re a high school athlete reading this, focus on learning proper Olympic lifting technique, work on getting stronger without compromising form and include some jump training (plyos) into your workouts. Jump training can include things like Box Jumps, Bounding and Power Skips.
For more info, check out my favorite lower body exercises for football. All of those exercises can help with improving your Broad Jump.
Bonus Tips for Attending a College Football Camp
I want to leave you with a few tips if you’re planning on attending a college football camp.
I’ve probably done over 100 camps and been in the room with football staff as we evaluate the players we saw at camp that day. Some of the same things always come up that have nothing to do with physical ability. I want to share a few of those with you to hopefully give you an edge at your next camp.
When Possible, Be First in Line
You don’t need to be obnoxious and start a scuffle with other players, but if at all possible, try to be first in line. Do that consistently enough throughout the day and you’ll catch the attention of coaches.
You may have a bad play. You may slip during a drill. You may have hated what they served for lunch.
Don’t let those kinds of negative things affect your attitude. Try to always stay positive, encourage your fellow campers and have fun playing football.
Work Hard at Everything
No football player (that I’m aware of) has ever been recruited because coaches thought they were cool. While other players are going through the motions during the warm-up, listen and execute each movement.
When doing a drill that might not apply to “your position”, don’t blow it off. Look at every drill as an opportunity to get better and it will get noticed.
I’m not saying doing those things is going to get you a scholarship. Let’s be honest, if you have a 5-foot Broad Jump those things aren’t going to help that much.
What I am saying, is every year I see a few players who got onto our recruiting boards because we thought they would make a positive influence on the culture of our team. It happens.
Broad Jump is one of the most popular physical tests done at the college football and NFL level and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Knowing what a good broad jump number is at your position is a great way to set goals and use them as motivation.
Just remember, if you’re still a few years away from college, your scores may still have a lot of improvement left to go, but don’t let that discourage you! Work hard, work smart and you’ll see your broad jump number continue to improve.