Henry Ruggs III is one of the fastest men in football, as he put up a 4.24 in the 40 at last year’s NFL Combine. While he was somewhat disappointed by that number, he’s looking to be more than just a speedster. In his first year with the Raiders, Ruggs had 26 catches for 452 yards and two touchdowns, not making the impact he wanted to consistently but showing the explosive play potential he can bring to the Las Vegas offense.
Ruggs is part of a long line of great receivers to come out of Alabama, as he was drafted in the first round alongside Jerry Jeudy, and shared a receiver room a year ago with Heisman winner DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. While it’s all love with the guys he calls his “brothers” from Tuscaloosa, they also like to poke at each other. We got a chance to speak to Ruggs on Thursday on behalf of Panini about his rookie year, watching Smith winning the Heisman, what he hopes to see from a new college football video game, and being asked to draw a cat on a trading card.
But first, we got to pressing matters, like Jeudy claiming he beat Ruggs by five yards in a 100 yard race.
So earlier today I talked to Jerry Jeudy and I asked him to give me a question for you and so here’s what he’s got: “How do you let Jerry Jeudy beat you by five yards in the 100 when you run a 4.24?”
And you should have asked him: Why does Jerry Jeudy ask for a 10-yard head start whenever we want to race?
Ahhh, okay. See he didn’t disclose this information.
See, we didn’t … we never really raced, because those five yards that he supposedly beat me by was what he wanted for head start.
See that’s good to know, I got to get both sides of the story, man. Looking back at your rookie season, how did you feel that went and where do you feel like you can look to improve as you go on the next season?
It was it was definitely a start. And I mean, it’s a lot to grow on and a lot to get better at, and those things will get better. But, I mean, it’s just like I said it was a learning experience, and it was something to grow on.
Something else that I talked with Jerry about was just that wide receiver room you guys had at Alabama last year. Obviously you two and then Jaylen and DeVonta. I mean, what was that experience like being in a room with that much talent and and how did that push each of you to kind of be better and be great
I mean, it was fun. It was all love in the room, it wasn’t wasn’t any jealousy about who’s getting the ball who was doin’ what. It was all about, you know, just as receivers us making plays and it always made us better to be, you know, to criticize each other, lift each other up, and compete with each other in all aspects.
What was it like for you watching DeVonta this season and seeing him go on to win a Heisman Trophy?
I love it. I was excited for him. He’s like my brother and for him to be a part of that group that we started and just continue that legacy of what we started, it was just, it was exciting. And we knew what he had in store we knew he had to offer and for him to just go out and show it like that, it’s all love.
You mentioned this year being a learning experience for you. If you were going to talk to the DeVonta and Jaylen about what to expect when they come into league, what’s some advice that you would try to give them?
Just always be on top of everything, and make sure that you’re going about everything professionally. This is a business and, I mean, it’s still football, but it’s not the same game as you’re used to.
I saw you tweet about the news that the college football video game is coming back. What would you want to see in that because you’ve obviously been through what college football is really like and what would you want to see a new college football game look like?
I mean, I don’t think it was too much wrong with it back in the day [laughs]. I want to see it kind of similar to how I was back in the day, but a little modernized with the graphics and things like that. I mean, it’s a lot, it’s a lot that you can add into it, but I would definitely keep like the little mascot games and the things like that. And make sure you’re able to play back a couple of years because I know a lot of us guys missed out on playing, playing that game and being in that game.
Yeah, I know you’re partnered with Panini for a shoot and a card signing. I got to ask, is drawing a cat on a card the weirdest autograph request you’ve ever gotten.
Uhhh, yes. Yeah, that would probably one of the weirdest ones. When I got it I just looked at it was like, “Okay, [sighs].” Especially since I’m doing them all digitally on my phone with my finger. And it was just like, “Okay, how am I going to do this? What, what am I going to do?” So, you know I gotta just like, I just draw a face, and to me at first the face didn’t look like the cat, so I put the little whiskers on it and then that’s when I had to write “meow” on the side to give you that little extra detail.
The best I could do on my phone man🤣 https://t.co/Vfjze5CvNQ
— HJR III™💎 (@__RUGGS) January 31, 2021
I was gonna ask was that just to make sure people knew that this is a cat?
That was exactly what it was. That was that detail just to let you know [laughs].
If you can pick a play from your rookie year to be on a card that you would want kind of immortalized in that way, is there one that stands out for you that you’d really like to see on a card?
Uhhhhhh, I’d probably say the catch from Kansas City game, not the touchdown catch but the other one, the first one.
And then with the Super Bowl coming up, you’ve faced the Chiefs twice and y’all got them in one of the games. If you are going to talk to the Bucs wide receiver room and let them know kind of about the approach to that to Chiefs secondary, what’s the kind of scouting report you would give them on on facing that group?
Just always be aware of everything. They’re a complex defense that likes to move around and likes to disguise different things so you always have to be aware of where the safeties are and what the corners are doing pre snap and post snap.
You have a pick for the game?
A pick for the game? That’s hard, that’s definitely hard. But it’s hard to go against Tom Brady, though.