Alabama WR Henry Ruggs III Declares for 2020 NFL Draft, Forgoes Senior Season

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 6, 2020

Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III (11) salutes the fans against LSU during the second half of an NCAA football game Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. LSU won 46-41. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

Alabama wideout Henry Ruggs III is heading to the NFL after declaring himself eligible for the 2020 draft.

Ruggs announced his decision on Monday:

Ruggs is one of the better wideouts in a loaded 2020 receiver class that includes his teammates Jerry Jeudy and Devonta Smith, Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb, Clemson's Tee Higgins, Colorado's Laviska Shenault Jr., Notre Dame's Chase Claypool, TCU's Jalen Reagor, Minnesota's Tyler Johnson, LSU's Justin Jefferson and Texas teammates Devin Duvernay and Collin Johnson, among others.

Despite the stiff competition, Ruggs seems likely to be a first-round pick. For one, he's been productive for Alabama in his three seasons at the school:

  • 2017: 12 receptions for 229 yards and six touchdowns.
  • 2018: 46 catches for 741 yards and 11 scores.
  • 2019: 40 receptions for 746 yards and seven touchdowns.

He's also a big play waiting to happen, averaging 18.7 yards per catch this past sesaon. 

NFL teams in need of speed are going to take a long, hard look at the 6'0" and 190-pound Ruggs. B/R's Matt Miller compared him to Kansas City Chiefs wideout Tyreek Hill, one of the game's most explosive playmakers, in November:

"After clocking an unreal 24.3 miles per hour on a touchdown run against South Carolina, Ruggs' speed is becoming the talk of scouting circles—even if we knew he was fast coming out of high school. He was the state 7A 100-meter champion with a record-breaking speed of 10.58 seconds. 

"Ruggs isn't just a speed receiver, though. This isn't John Ross or Corey Coleman. He's a threat down the field on vertical routes, but he's also shown himself to be exceptional with the ball in his hands on short routes. Ruggs can be used much in the same way Tyreek Hill is—as a true No. 1 wide receiver with the skills to run short, intermediate and deep routes."

Ruggs has the ability to both stretch opposing defenses with his speed and make big plays after the catch on shorter routes. That explosiveness is rare, and if he's on the board after the first 15 picks in April's NFL draft, it will be a surprise.  

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