The Rise and Fall: Henry Ruggs III


Football field at night with stadium lights

Jase Hostler, Staff Writer

(The Rise and Fall is an ongoing series that goes over the lives of professional athletes that unfortunately lost everything.)

The Rise:

Henry James Ruggs III, (born January 24, 1999) grew up in Montgomery, Alabama. He played football for Robert E. Lee High School and was promoted to the varsity team his 8th grade year. Although being one of the best young players on his high school team, he didn’t play high school football until his junior year. In his first season, he received his first scholarship after only playing two games. As a senior, Ruggs 38 catches for 639 yards in nine games. On top of this, he had 20 touchdowns: nine catches, seven rushes, three passes, and one kick return. Not only did Ruggs strive on the football field, but he also played basketball and track in high school. He has the record for fastest 100-meter dash time in the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s class 7A record. 

The Climax:

As a freshman in college, Ruggs played wide receiver for the University of Alabama. He had 12 receptions for 229 yards. Along with this came 6 touchdowns. As a sophomore, Ruggs shot up the team ranks with 46 receptions for 761 yards and 11 touchdowns. As a junior, Ruggs was living the dream as one of the best players on his team at the time. He was also the team’s primary kick returner and averaged 23.8 yards per return. Despite not playing his senior year and declaring for the NFL draft, he finished his college career with 24 receiving touchdowns which placed him 3rd on the all-time leaderboard at Alabama.

Ruggs declared for the NFL draft in 2020 and was the first wide receiver to be drafted. At the NFL combine, Ruggs ran a 4.27 40-meter dash which was the year’s fastest dash by .08 seconds. This time also tied for 4th fastest time ever since electronic timing.

On September 13th, 2020, Ruggs made his NFL debut for the Las Vegas Raiders against the Carolina Panthers. His first catch was also made during this game. Ruggs finished his rookie season with 26 receptions and 452 total yards, and 2 touchdowns in 13 games played.

The Fall:

Unfortunately, in the 2021 season, the Raiders released Ruggs. This was due to Ruggs rear-ending another car at high speeds. Hours before this event, Ruggs was seen drinking with his girlfriend at Topgolf, Las Vegas. They left that night in Ruggs’ highly modified Corvette Stingray. The police: not long after, produced digital evidence of Ruggs going 156 mph. Approaching a Toyota RAV4, Ruggs tried to panic stop, but then slammed 120 mph into the vehicle. Tintor (driver of the Toyota RAV4) and her dog were pronounced burned to death as the vehicle engulfed in flames after the collision. Upon Ruggs’ release from the hospital, he was sent to Clark County Detention Center. Ruggs appeared in court the next day in front of Judge Joe M. Bonaventure. Bonaventure set a bail at $150,000. In the end, Ruggs was sentenced to 50 years in prison and a ruined career in the NFL.