Donte Jackson seeks to break John Ross’ combine record in the 40

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LSU cornerback Donte Jackson was deemed the fastest man in college football last season.

“Wherever he is, he’s going to be the fastest man,” former LSU teammate D.J. Chark said.

Jackson hopes to be the fastest man ever at the NFL Scouting Combine. He was watching last year when John Ross set the record with a 4.22 in the 40-yard dash.

On Wednesday, Jackson seemed confident the first time he was asked whether he would break Ross’ record, saying “most definitely” before later tempering expectations a bit.

“I want to run lower than a 4.27,” Jackson said. “That’s like the goal that I set for myself, so that’s the goal that I’ve been working toward. Obviously, I want to break the record. But just breaking the record is something you can’t think like, ‘Oh, I want to go break the record.’ I want to set a goal for myself that I know I’m going to reach, and then if I just happen to break the record while doing that, I’ll take that, too.”

Jackson said he ran a hand-held time of 4.24 as a freshman and a laser time of 4.29. He expects that he’s faster now, saying he’s become a “master of the craft.”

Jackson has trained with four-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson at Johnson’s facility in McKinney, Texas. Johnson has held the 200-meter and 400-meter world records.

“Our job is to make sure that we don’t make him slower,” Johnson said, laughing, “but also make sure he understands this isn’t about just running as fast as you can. This is execution. In order for him to run the best time that he’s capable of running, he’s got to actually get out and get a very good start. He’s got to get a really good drive. Those are all phases of a race, phases of execution of a 40-yard dash. That’s not something he’s used to. He’s used to just being fast. Turn it on, and I run fast. This is different. In order to be as fast as you can, you don’t just turn on the speed. You’ve got to turn on the speed, but it’s got to be optimized, and that’s what we’ve been working on.”