The downfall of Henry Ruggs Ⅲ

Few receivers enter the draft with the athleticism and potential as of late that was on display when Henry Ruggs declared for the 2020 NFL Draft. Running a 4.26-second 40-yard dash (the fastest of the draft class), he was one of the fastest players in the NFL and, in college, made a name for himself playing alongside receivers such as Jerry Jeudy DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle.

Being able to stand out amongst other receivers of that caliber is why he was taken 12th overall by the Las Vegas Raiders.

Sadly, all that potential will now go unused, all because of a horrible decision.

Coming out of high school, Ruggs was offered 20 different scholarships but decided to stay close to home and attend Alabama. During his freshman year at Alabama, Ruggs had only 12 receptions, 229 yards, and 6 touchdowns but did average 19.1 yards per reception. While he wasn’t yet a major threat for the Rolling Tide, he did take home a ring. Alabama defeated Georgia in the National Championship.

The following season, his athletic talents were finally abused against opponents. He had 46 receptions for 741 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was one of the most deadly deep-threat receivers in college football, and his popularity was growing exponentially.

During his third and final year at Alabama, he would go on to receive 40 passes for 746 yards and 7 touchdowns. He was a fan favorite and was projected to be taken off the board quickly when he declared for the 2020 draft. He was taken 12th overall by the Las Vegas Raiders and was the first receiver to be drafted that year.

Once on the team, he took over for Amari Cooper, who had just left the program. He was a starter from day one, starting over veterans such as Nelson Agholor and Zay Jones. He had 26 receptions in his first season, accompanied by 452 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Only halfway through his second season, Ruggs had 24 receptions with 469 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was finally being targeted more as Derek Carr and the coaching staff began to gain trust in his ability to score deep.

Despite a hot start, Ruggs would never finish the 2021-22 season.

On November 2nd, 2021, Henry Ruggs was involved in a fatal accident. After hanging out with his friends, where he had too much to drink, Ruggs was driving back home when tragedy struck.

Under the influence, Ruggs was driving down the Las Vegas road going 156 miles per hour when he came face to face with another car. He was unable to stop in time.

The driver of the other car, a 23-year-old woman, and her dog were both killed in the accident. Ruggs walked from the collision with a broken neck.

He was sentenced to 20 years in prison with a $1 million bond. Teammate Derek Carr and Ruggs’ best friend DeVonta Smith has since gone on record saying that the hate directed towards Ruggs needs to stop because he needs all the support he can get right now.

So much potential and talent was wasted that day. The victim of the incident should never have died, and Ruggs should never have driven. He is guilty, but he is undeserving of such a horrible incident so early in his life. Henry Ruggs will never see the field again. A truly sad thing to think about.