It has been quite the busy day on the Alabama front with players deciding whether or not they will leave the Crimson Tide early for the NFL or not. The latest player to make his decision known is wide receiver Henry Ruggs III.
“Today, I’m excited to announce that I am declaring for the 2020 NFL draft,” Ruggs said in a statement released on his Instagram account on Monday afternoon.
Ruggs had 40 receptions for 746 yards and seven touchdowns this season for Alabama. In 2018, Ruggs put up similar numbers with 741 yards on 46 receptions with 11 touchdowns. Ruggs also had six touchdown catches in his freshman season in 2017.
Ruggs joins fellow Alabama players Tua Tagovailoa (HERE), Jerry Jeudy (HERE), Xavier McKinney (HERE), and Jedrick Wills as departing players for the NFL. One last player that has yet to announce his intentions is running back Najee Harris.
For those keeping score at home, Ruggs is the fifth Alabama football player to announce he is leaving the Crimson Tide a year early to pursue a chance to play in the NFL in 2020.
Tua Tagovailoa is finally, officially, gone, but Monday was not a total loss for Alabama’s 2020 hopes.
Shortly after the passer of the legendary 2nd-and-26 touchdown pass that won Alabama its 2017 national title announced his departure, the receiver on the end of that rainbow announced his return.
“While I’ve achieved a lot on the field,” Smith wrote in an Instagram post, “I understand that football isn’t forever. I have to prepare myself for life after the game and the first step to doing that is getting my degree.”
The Amite, La., native caught eight passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns as a freshman, including that infamous 41-yarder. His production increased in 2018 (42 grabs for 693 yards and six scores, good for fifth on the team) and increased even more in 2019. Smith ranked second on the club with 68 grabs, and his 1,256 yards and 14 touchdowns led the team.
He’ll be the top target for whoever wins Alabama’s impending quarterback derby, even more so considering Jerry Jeudy has announced his departure. Fellow receiver Henry Ruggs III has yet to announce his decision.
Tua Tagovailoa previously announced he would reveal his NFL decision on Monday, Jan. 6. On Sunday, we got details of that announcement.
The Alabama quarterback will sit for a press conference with Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban at noon ET (11 local time) on Monday.
There’s been a general feeling of optimism emanating out of Tuscaloosa lately, buoyed by the sight of a joyful, upright joining his teammates for Wednesday’s Citrus Bowl.
On Tuesday, Alabama’s team Twitter account tweeted out this cryptic message, with the tops of the dominoes displaying ones and threes.
Alabama has generally batted around .500 thus far in draft declaration season, losing Jerry Jeudy, Jedrick Wills and Xavier McKinney but retaining Dylan Moses and Alex Leatherwood.
While anyone can read into Sunday’s announcement what they want, the thought here is Saban wouldn’t sit for a press conference that announces a player’s departure.
We’ll find out one way or another tomorrow.
Not surprisingly, Jerry Jeudy is taking his leave of Alabama and beginning his NFL journey.
On Twitter late Saturday afternoon, Jerry Jeudy confirmed that he is departing Alabama and making himself available for the 2020 NFL Draft. The standout wide receiver is leaving a year of collegiate eligibility on the table.
”The journey at the University of Alabama has been an amazing experience,” Jeudy wrote. “Being able to play the sport I love alongside some of the greatest people in the game has been a blessing for me.
”I will forever represent the Crimson Tide.”
The winner of the 2018 Biletnikoff Award, Jeudy will finish his collegiate career with 2,742 yards and 26 touchdowns on 159 receptions. This season, his stat line went 77-1163-10.
In his last game, Alabama’s Citrus Bowl win over Michigan, Jeudy caught six passes for 204 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown covered 85 yards.
Jeudy is the second Tide player to declare early today. Earlier, offensive tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. confirmed that he will be leaving ‘Bama for the April draft.
Previously, linebacker Dylan Moses (HERE) (PROBABLY) and left tackle Alex Leatherwood (HERE) had announced they would be coming back to Tuscaloosa for their senior seasons.
The first matchup between Jim Harbaugh and Nick Saban went the way of the Crimson Tide. After trailing by two at halftime, No. 13 Alabama (11-2) shut down No. 14 Michigan (9-4) in the second half of a 35-16 victory in the Citrus Bowl.
Mac Jones passed for 327 yards and three touchdowns in place of the injured Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovialoa was on the field with Alabama’s captains for the coin flip but will now address his immediate future with a decision on coming back to taking a shot at the NFL looms while injured. Alabama’s running game was led by a brilliant effort by Najee Harris, who picked up two touchdowns and 136 yards against the Wolverines. Star wide receiver Jerry Jeudy also presented some highlights among his six catches for 204 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown on Alabama’s first offensive play from scrimmage in the first quarter.
Michigan’s Shea Patterson certainly had his struggles, completing 17 of 37 passes for 233 yards and a pair of interceptions (the second coming on the final play of the game, however). Patterson’s first interception came on the first play after Michigan took over around midfield midway through the fourth quarter, with Alabama leading 28-16. Alabama finished off the drive with a soul-crushing touchdown in the final minute of the game.
This is the 9th consecutive season Alabama has recorded 11 wins in a season. This was obviously not where Alabama wanted to end the season, but the Crimson Tide remain as strong a threat for the playoff as ever going into the new season. Saban improved his postseason bowl season record to 15-10, including a 12-5 mark with Alabama. Harbaugh has fallen to just 1-4 in bowl games since his arrival in Ann Arbor, which will surely not help to turn back any narratives heading into next season.
Michigan and Alabama will each begin the 2020 season against an opponent from the Pac-12. Michigan will play a true road game when they head to Seattle to face the Washington Huskies on Sept. 5. On the same day, Alabama will take on USC in Arlington, TX.