TUSCALOOSA — There are several true freshmen who have very good opportunities to make an impact as true freshmen this upcoming season.
While Najee Harris, Jerry Jeudy, Brian Robinson and Tua Tagovailoa among others have been making headlines since their arrival in the spring, another name is starting emerge from the Crimson Tide’s 2017 recruiting class.
During media viewings of special teams, true freshman wide receiver Henry Ruggs III has been taking several reps in the return game. At last Saturday’s open practice, Ruggs was one of the first to field punts during the sessions inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Nick Saban has been impressed with Ruggs in the return game throughout fall camp. The Alabama head coach, of course, understands that those impressions have turn into results this upcoming season.
“I guess you don’t really, truly trust anybody until you see them do it in a game, but he’s done a nice job in practice,” Saban said of Ruggs on Thursday. “He’s got really good ball judgment, he’s very explosive and he’s instinctive as a runner.”
Ruggs, a native of Montgomery, Ala., arrived at Alabama as a summertime enrollee this year, while being a part of the Tide’s 2017 class. The 6-foot, 175-pounder was listed as a five-star recruit and the nation’s top wide receiver by 247Sports.
Prior to his arrival, Ruggs was already well-known for his blistering speed. In his senior year at Robert E. Lee High School, Ruggs won the Alabama Class 7A race with a blistering record-setting of 10.58 seconds.
Ruggs isn’t the only one receiving reps in the return game.
Last Saturday, Trevon Diggs, Calvin Ridley, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Robert Foster, Devonta Smith, Xavian Marks and Shyheim Carter joined Ruggs in fielding returns during the Tide’s open practice on Fan Day.
The media did not get to see the special team units during the open sessions of Thursday’s practice.
“We have a little more experience back there with a couple guys that did it last year,” Saban shared. “So, I feel a little more comfortable in that part of it. I think kickoff return is an area where we also have to get somebody that can do it and we’re working Henry (Ruggs) at that as well.”
Alabama returns to the practice field Friday morning beginning at 9:30 a.m. CT.