Why was Henry Ruggs III disappointed by his touchdown-saving tackle against Tennessee?
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Henry Ruggs III can’t help but be a little disappointed.
While everyone else has been raving about how he impressively chased down Tennessee safety Nigel Warrior after making an interception during Alabama’s 35-13 victory on Saturday night, the Crimson Tide wide receiver had a very different take.
When meeting with reporters Monday, Ruggs was shaking his head about needing 59 yards to make the touchdown-saving tackle.
“I wouldn’t say it’s highlight, it’s just me making a play,” he said. “I kind of feel that he got more out of that return than he should have got because I was doggin’ at the beginning. I felt like someone had the tackle, I’m not sure who it was, but they got blocked and fell to the ground.
“That’s kind of when I took off full speed.”
Warrior had a 10-yard head start when he caught the errant pass by junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa near the goal-line, which appeared to be intended for Ruggs in the back of the end zone, and quickly extended the gap to at least 15 yards.
But then Ruggs turned it on.
“Once I took off, I saw he had a blocker and my biggest thing was getting around the block,” he said. “I knew once I took off, I felt that I was gaining on him, and everybody on the sideline was pointing at me. I could see that, so I knew I had him; my thought was just, ‘He’s not about to score.’”
Regardless, Tennessee eventually did score a touchdown off the turnover, but Ruggs had a 48-yard reception later in the game and finished with four catches for 72 yards.
Ruggs hadn’t checked yet with the training staff to see what speed the Crimson Tide’s GPS system recorded him at during the play, but said they fastest he’s been was “24.5 [mph], something like that.”
He confirmed that he hit 24.3 during his long touchdown at South Carolina.
However, as far as Ruggs was concerned there was one good thing for him that came out of the play, bragging rights.
He and Jaylen Waddle are considered the fastest players on the Crimson Tide, and the two occasionally race. The sophomore wide receiver was also in pursuit and closing fast on the interception return while coming from more of an angle, only to get beat out by his teammate.
“We were both moving,” Ruggs said,. “I’m gonna make fun of him on that because I feel like I came from farther back than he did.”