clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What is Nike Football Rating, and which recruits have won it?

It’s an athleticism measurement, formerly known as SPARQ.

The top high school football recruits have gathered in Beaverton, Ore. for The Opening. The five-day recruiting event is a showcase of athleticism, and Nike quantifies that with its Nike Football Rating Championship.

The Opening used to be televised on ESPN, but in 2017, only Monday, July 3’s 7-on-7 championship will be aired on the NFL Network. You can also follow along with all of the action by following @SBNRecruiting on Twitter, and our live blog for The Opening, which begins Friday afternoon ET.

If you’ve heard of the SPARQ testing that Nike did for a few years (and was even featured in the NCAA Football video game series), then you’re familiar with the format of the Nike Football Ratings. It’s essentially the same thing with a different name. It encompasses these events, and was Nike’s attempt to standardize test results for the best high school athletes with some sport-specific exercises:

40-yard dash: A measure of off-the-mark quickness and transition to top speed.

Vertical jump: Your vertical jump height and body weight are factored together to assess your peak power.

5-10-5 shuttle (also known as the 20-yard shuttle run): a drill demanding split second changes of posture, direction, and speed.

Kneeling powerball toss: a test designed to measure the ability to develop and deliver coordinated power.

A player's results in those four exercises, when normalized by weight, gives a number that measures the player's power, agility, speed, explosiveness, and overall athleticism.

Nike put its resources behind a rating initiative, and this was the result. It was also more than just football, as there were rating systems for five other sports as well.

Nike Football Rating national champions

Player Position Most recent college team Rating Year
Player Position Most recent college team Rating Year
J.K. Dobbins RB Ohio State 146.76 2016
Donovon Peoples-Jones WR Michigan 148.83 2015
Kirk Merritt WR East Mississippi CC 147.6 2014
Speedy Noil WR Texas A&M 153.9 2013
Mike Mitchell LB Southeastern 154.47 2012
Landon Collins DB LSU 143.76 2011
Ryan Henderson DB USC 134.79 2010

They’ve gotten away from the SPARQ branding, but the nuts and bolts remain the same.

There are a couple of notable names in the former winners list, but besides Landon Collins, none of these players made huge splashes at the college level. We’ll see if Peoples-Jones or Dobbins will end up having the careers that their testing numbers promise.

We’ll also update this list after 2017’s Nike Football Ratings Championship.

Follow along with our 2017 Opening Finals live blog, starting Friday afternoon: