When Tennessee’s Nigel Warrior intercepted Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the end zone Saturday night in the first quarter he had a straight shot all the way to the end zone.
Henry Ruggs III wasn’t having any of it.
Arguably the fastest player on the Crimson Tide roster, Ruggs ran down Warrior at the Crimson Tide 41-yard line to prevent the score.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a highlight,” Ruggs said. “I’d just say it’s me making a play, doing what I had to do. I knew I had him and I knew he was not going to score.”
The return might have been shorter had Ruggs sprinted after Warrior from the beginning.
“I feel like somebody had to tackle him but they got blocked and fell to the ground,” Ruggs said. “So that’s when I kind of took off with more speed. I feel like I should have took off right when he first caught it.”
Ruggs got to Warrior first, but Jaylen Waddle was giving chase as well.
Me and Waddle were moving,” Ruggs said. “Waddle was coming at an angle but I was the one that wrapped him up and made the tackle. I’m going to make fun of him because I feel I came from farther back.”
The two fastest players on the team, Ruggs and Waddle had a foot race a few months back, which Ruggs won by a slim margin. He wasn’t sure how fast he or Waddle were moving on the interception return.
“I need to go ask them just to see,” Ruggs said. “But I don’t feel like that was the best I could have done. At South Carolina I was timed at 24.3. That was one of the fastest.”