Former West Virginia wide receiver Shelton Gibson said before the NFL Combine he thought he could beat Chris Johnson’s 4.24-second 40-yard dash time.
That didn’t quite happen: Gibson ran the 40 in 4.50 seconds, although his agent cried foul and said teams timed him quicker.
No matter the timing, Gibson didn’t catch Johnson. But he might’ve done better than the unofficial times the NFL initially attributed to him.
Gibson said he came close to besting Johnson’s mark as a high school player during an unofficial visit to Auburn.
Gibson visited Auburn on Nov. 26, 2012, during the weekend of the Iron Bowl. It was raining, but Auburn’s coaches wanted to see what he could do.
“Auburn said, ‘You got some cleats?’ And I was like, ‘No, I don’t have any cleats,’” Gibson said before his Combine testing. “They went and got me some cleats. It was raining outside. I ran a 4.32, and they were like ... ‘No, this ain’t laser. Something’s got to be wrong.’ I’m like, ‘I don’t know, coach.’”
The coach timing Gibson was sufficiently impressed, and Auburn offered Gibson that day. He ended up at West Virginia instead, where he racked up 951 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in his final season.
Gibson was assigned No. 17 for the Combine, and that’s the number Chris Johnson wore when he set his record at 4.24 seconds in 2008. Gibson thought that was a good sign.
“Yeah, No. 17,” Gibson said. “That’s the last time somebody hit the record.”
Johnson’s still standing.