There is fast, and there is Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III fast. Some have even referred to him as the roadrunner when he has the ball in his hands. Not even the roadrunner stands a chance against the Alabama wide receiver in a straight-line race.
While his teammate and positional counterpart Jerry Jeudy has received most of the love in college and as the NFL Draft approaches, it’s Ruggs who possesses the acceleration and quickness NFL teams are in search of.
The Alabama Crimson Tide’s blazing wideout is preparing to run his 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, and he’s set some massive expectations for himself in the event. To Ruggs, though, they don’t appear all that big.
“My goal is to be the fastest ever,” he said in a live interview with CBS Sports. “I feel pretty good about it. I’m confident.”
UPDATE (February 28, 2020): Ruggs didn’t beat the combine-record 4.22 40-yard dash set by Cincinnati Bengals’ John Ross in 2017, but he did run an official 4.27 40-yard dash, which was the fastest among wide receivers at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine, and the sixth-fastest in history.
Alabama’s Henry Ruggs Runs 4.27 40-Yard Dash
Fastest 40-Yard Dashes in NFL Combine History
Since electronic timing was implemented at the NFL Scouting Combine in 1999, there have been a limited amount of sub-4.30 times. Ruggs will almost assuredly run under a 4.30.
Here are the five fastest times in NFL Combine history, according to NFL.com.
4.22, John Ross (2017, Washington)
4.24, Chris Johnson (2008, East Carolina)
4.26, Dri Archer (2014, Kent State)
4.26, Jerome Mathis (2005, Hampton)
4.27, Marquise Goodwin (2013, Texas)
Ruggs Was the Fastest Player in College Football
Ruggs’ abilities may have been lost in LSU’s Joe Burrow’s magical season or Alabama’s talent pool that includes Tua Tagovailoa, Jaylen Waddle, Najee Harris and DeVonta Smith. Even this year’s strong wide receiver class — teammate Jerry Jeudy and Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb are the headliners — have buried Ruggs’ name a bit.
Don’t let that diminish the fact that the former Alabama speedster was easily the fastest player in NCAA football last season.
The proof is in the tape, and the tape says he reached a ridiculous 24.3 mph on a touchdown against South Carolina in 2019.
He also hit that number in a play against Missouri back in 2018:
Henry Ruggs sure looks like the second coming of Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill. NFL cornerbacks better tie those shoelaces, because Ruggs is coming. Quickly.
Ruggs Once Ran a 4.25 and Was Upset
Ruggs has ran the 40-yard dash before. At Alabama’s Pro Day last year, he turned in a 4.25 40-yard dash time that most would be ecstatic about. Not Ruggs, though.
“I actually was kind of upset after I ran because I didn’t feel like I had a good start but after they told me the numbers, I was like — I feel like I can do better,” he said in an Alabama Football YouTube video.
For comparison, the fastest player at the 2019 NFL Combine was Ole Miss safety Zedrick Woods, who ran a 4.29. Ruggs would have easily beaten that had he been eligible for the draft.
NFL Network‘s Daniel Jeremiah predicted Ruggs will run a sub-4.30 time and Alabama teammates believe the same. Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs even picked Ruggs to run it in 4.19 seconds, which is almost unthinkable.
Henry Ruggs Alabama Highlights
Ruggs didn’t see as much action as Jeudy or Smith last season, but he still turned in some solid numbers. As a junior, he hauled in 40 passes for 746 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
The former Crimson Tide receiver torched cornerbacks during his time in Tuscaloosa, finishing with 98 receptions and more than 1,700 yards and 25 touchdowns.
To nobody’s surprise, he was a four-star recruit coming out of high school. He also ran track for Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery, Alabama.