What’s a Good Vertical Jump For College Football?
The vertical jump is one of the standard tests used to measure the explosiveness of college football players (and athletes in general). It’s performed at the NFL Combine each year with the top college prospects in the country as well as at schools and camps all over the country.
I went through 20 years of data on college football vertical jumps with teams that I’ve worked with, combined with numbers from other strength coaches, 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 very relative.
For example, if you’re a high school sophomore you most likely will not stack up to the numbers listed below and that’s okay. You still have a lot of development and maturing to do and your vertical jump will improve quite a bit over the next couple of years with proper training.
Also, you’re going to find a difference depending on what level of college football you’re examining. Average jumps at an SEC school are generally going to be higher than what you may find at a D2 or D3 school.
Next, while these are broken down by position, size is still a huge factor when evaluating what a good vertical 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 Vertical Jump.
Vertical Jump Numbers By Position
|College Vertical Jump Ranges by Position|
|Quarterback||< 27.5||27.5 – 29.5||30 – 31||31.5 – 34.5||> 34.5|
|Running Back||< 28||28 – 30||30.5 – 32.5||33 – 35||> 35|
|Wide Receiver||< 28.5||28.5 – 30.5||31 – 33.5||34 – 36||> 36|
|Tight End||< 26.5||26.5 – 28.5||29 – 31||31.5 – 34||> 34|
|Offensive Line||< 22||22 – 24||24.5 – 26.5||27 – 28.5||> 28.5|
|Safety||< 28.5||28.5 – 30.5||31 – 33||33.5 – 36||> 36|
|Cornerback||< 29||29 – 31||31.5 – 33.5||34 – 36.5||> 36.5|
|Linebacker||< 26.5||26.5 – 28||28.5 – 30.5||31 – 33||> 33|
|Defensive Ends||< 26||26 – 27.5||28 – 30||30.5 – 32.5||> 32.5|
|Defensive Tackles||< 22.5||22.5 – 24||24.5 – 27||27.5 – 29||> 29|
What Do The Categories Mean?
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.
Where Do These Numbers Come From?
The number ranges are rooted in historical data that I’ve accumulated over the course of my career.
Other input like 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 are also considered.
Finally, 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 (freshmen often fell into Reserve or Starter). Fewer players would achieve All-American level and fewer still would reach NFL Athlete.
Vertical Jump vs Broad Jump
I just wanted to add a quick note to any high school players that are here checking out these numbers.
I would advise you to be more in tune with how your broad jump stacks up versus your vertical jump.
Most college camps will test the 40 and Broad Jump, but usually not a vertical jump. Vertical Jumps, when using a Vertec (the piece of equipment used at the NFL Combine) is very time-consuming.
You have to measure each athlete’s reach and reset the Vertec for every player. Some college camps are attended by hundreds of players. Trying to properly test each player would take forever.
The other option is to use a jump mat, but those are not reliably accurate enough to get quality data.
So, most schools use the Broad Jump. It’s quick, easy to administer and accurate.
40-inch Verticals Are Rare
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on this because I think it’s one of the biggest misconceptions in sports.
40-inch vertical jumps (like 4.4 40s) are rare – like, really rare. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some exceptional athletes in my career including almost 100 guys that played in the NFL. I’ve personally only seen a handful of true 40-inch plus vertical jumps.
In fact, there are generally only a handful of 40-inch verticals at the NFL Combine each year. That’s the best of the best each year and most of those guys don’t jump that high.
I love using data as a means of assessing your physical abilities and goal-setting. I would encourage you to use the numbers above to do just that.
However, I also caution you to not allow the numbers above to discourage you if you’re not quite at those numbers yet. As I said above, most of the freshmen each year would fall toward the lower end of that table.
Plus, I’ve seen many players that tested poorly in one physical test or another, whether that’s vertical jump or a pro agility test, and still have a ton of success.