Alabama's Henry Ruggs runs 4.27 in 40-yard dash, short of John Ross' record

Terez Paylor
Senior NFL writer

INDIANAPOLIS — Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III ran the 40-yard dash in 4.27 seconds on Thursday evening at the NFL scouting combine, a blazing speed that topped the field at Lucas Oil Stadium but fell short of the all-time mark of 4.22 seconds, set in 2017 by the University of Washington’s John Ross III.

If recent history is any indication, Ruggs — who checked in at 5-foot-11 and 188 pounds earlier in the week — might see his draft stock get a boost thanks to his time. Ross went on to be the ninth overall selection by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2017 after setting the combine record. 

Ruggs ran his 4.27 in his first attempt in the 40-yard dash. The initial unofficial time was 4.28 before his mark was updated. His final try was slower at an unofficial 4.31.

The 21-year-old true junior caught 40 passes for 746 yards and seven touchdowns while competing for reps in a loaded Alabama receiving corps in 2019.

“I’m aiming for the best time ever,” Ruggs told Yahoo Sports in a sit-down interview before the run.

Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III answers questions from the media during the NFL scouting combine this week in Indianapolis. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ruggs said he ran an unofficial 4.25 last spring. Even though he came up short of the record, there’s little doubt about his elite speed.

“I’ve never been caught from behind,” Ruggs said. “I barely look back.”

In his last mock draft, Yahoo Sports draft analyst Eric Edholm had Ruggs going No. 15 to the Denver Broncos, trailing Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy (No. 12) and Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb (No. 13) as the highest projected wideouts of this draft.

“He’s the closest thing to Tyreek Hill that I’ve seen, since Tyreek Hill entered the league,” NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said in a recent conference call. “And just looked like he’s been on a different speed than everybody else. This kid does the same thing. He’s so sudden off the line of scrimmage. It’s instant death for corners.”

Since 2003, 10 players have cracked 4.29 or faster in the 40-yard dash. Of those 10, only Ross and running back Chris Johnson — whose time of 4.24 in 2008 was toppled by Ross three years ago — have come under the 4.25 barrier.

“I’ve been running since I was little,” Ruggs said. “When I first started to play football, my dad used to take me to run hills and stairs on game day. That was at the age of 9 or 10, that’s when it started. From there, I’ve just been running all the time. I love working out on my legs, so anything with legs, I’m all for.”

More from Yahoo Sports: