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NFL draft: Five things to know about Henry Ruggs III, the Raiders' new wide receiver

Gus Martin

Alabama's Henry Ruggs III starred as a hometown product for the Crimson Tide. He, Jerry Jeudy and DeVonta Smith were a three-headed monster for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, helping the program reach two national championship games in three years.

Ruggs was the team's burner, a blazing-fast wideout capable of scoring any time he touched the ball. Although he's just 5-11, 188 pounds, Ruggs fits in well with a Las Vegas Raiders team looking for additional weapons on offense.

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.

Here are five things to know about Ruggs:

1. He's by far the fastest player in the draft

Ruggs has blazing speed on tape, but the actual numbers are just as impressive. He ran the fastest 40-yard dash time at the NFL combine, notching a time of 4.27 seconds, which was .08 seconds faster than the next-closest prospect. 

In the sprinting world, that's a significant margin.

At Alabama, he was clocked at approximately 23.27 miles per hour by the program's Catapult system, which monitors and records player movement in games and at practice. Ruggs set a program record after surpassing Kenyan Drake's 22.05 mph.

Ruggs was also a track star in high school. He has full-fledged racing speed and won the Class 7A 100-meter dash by running it in 10.58 seconds. That's one second shy of Usain Bolt's world record and 0.58 second shy of the high-school record. 

Not bad for a football player.

2. He was a jack-of-all trades in high school

In addition to his obvious prowess as a five-star receiver, Ruggs scored a multitude of ways as a senior at Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery, Ala. 

He scored a total of 20 times on 102 touches, including 38 catches for 639 yards and nine touchdowns. He also ran the ball 36 times for 446 yards and seven scores and returned seven kickoffs for 352 yards and a touchdown.

That's not all. The speedster also lined up behind center and completed 11-of-23 passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns.

Although he was mostly asked to catch the ball at Alabama, Ruggs has all-around offensive football skills.

3. He orchestrated a unique signing day announcement

When it came time for Ruggs to decide between Alabama and Florida State, he didn't make his decision in the traditional way of simply putting on the school's hat. He went big.

While sitting at a table with the two hats in a full auditorium at his high school, a video played to honor Ruggs' late friend, Rod Scott, who died in a car accident on March 4, 2016, according to an ESPN article. At the end of the video, the same Alabama hat sitting at the table was shown sitting atop Scott's grave and Ruggs then walked over and put the hat on. The crowd gave Ruggs a standing ovation.

Ruggs was quoted in the article as saying that Scott was the first person he felt comfortable discussing his recruitment with, and that his friend even told him Alabama was the right choice.

Ruggs continues to honor his fallen friend on the field by raising three fingers to the sky whenever he scores.

4. He has more receiving touchdowns than many Alabama legends

Ruggs might be overshadowed by 2018 Fred Biletnikoff Award winner and Crimson Tide teammate Jerry Jeudy, but that doesn't mean his college legacy is any less impressive.

Ruggs ranks third on Alabama's all-time receiving touchdowns list, ahead of NFL stars such as Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, and Pro Football Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome. His 24 receiving touchdowns are behind only Jeudy (26) and four-time NFL Pro Bowl receiver Amari Cooper (31).

5. He thinks he can beat Tyreek Hill in a foot race

Prior to the draft, Ruggs was interviewed by USA TODAY Sports' Mackenzie Salmon and said he would love the opportunity to play alongside Chiefs speedster Tyreek Hill. When asked who he'd bank on winning a race between himself and Hill, Ruggs shot back, "I'm gonna say me."

Ruggs also said he believes he was being underrated heading into the draft.

"A lot of guys try to say that I'm just a speed guy or I only can run," Ruggs said. "I feel like I'm a complete receiver that does everything, and my tape shows it."