Wearing Ole Miss workout shorts and a Robert E. Lee High Generals windbreaker with his last name stitched down the front, Kevontae’ Ruggs sat inside a tiny conference room of the East Mississippi Community College football offices, his familiar dreads hanging down from a well-worn backward black hat commemorating Alabama’s 2018 Sugar Bowl championship.
A Circuitous Journey
Transfer from Ole Miss
Following his surprising and under-the-radar transfer from Ole Miss in May, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Ruggs — younger brother to Alabama junior receiver Henry Ruggs III — spent about a month at Blinn College in Texas before homesickness brought him to Scooba, Mississippi, the original home of “Last Chance U,” the Netflix documentary series that chronicled the five-time junior college national champion East Mississippi’s tumultuous 2015-2016 seasons.
His deep-rooted connection to family is what triggered this summer’s exit from Ole Miss and what has helped Kevontae’ the most as he made the difficult move to the junior college ranks, where football players aren’t afforded many of the same benefits that a scholarship gives those at the Division I or Power 5 levels.
Rebuilding & Resurrecting
Focusing on Football
“With me being here, I feel like this is getting me back on track because I’m in a town where there’s nothing,” Kevontae said. “There’s nothing but football, and football’s always been my getaway for everything. So you put me down here for a couple of months) and I can strictly play football and not worry about nothing, and hopefully nothing (else) happens to nobody in my family.”
Support and Guidance
A Brother’s Influence
“The relationship we have is different, but he knows at any moment he can call me, and I’ll give him tips,” Henry said. “And I make trips down there to see him play because I know he needs that support.”
Henry also lends financial support to his younger brother, ensuring that Kevontae has the means to focus on his football career without any additional worries.
His ultimate goal is to return to Division I football, preferably within the SEC, and work towards a potential NFL career.
A Promising Comeback
The story of Kevontae’ Ruggs serves as an inspiration to aspiring athletes facing setbacks. With resilience and the support of loved ones, it is possible to overcome obstacles and pursue dreams passionately.
FAQs about Kevontae Ruggs
1. Who is Kevontae Ruggs?
Kevontae Ruggs is a football player currently attending East Mississippi Community College. He is the younger brother of Alabama junior receiver Henry Ruggs III.
2. Why did Kevontae Ruggs transfer from Ole Miss?
Kevontae Ruggs transferred from Ole Miss due to homesickness and his desire to find a new path to reclaim his football career.
3. How is Kevontae Ruggs supported by his family?
Kevontae Ruggs receives strong support from his older brother Henry Ruggs III, both emotionally and financially, as he pursues his football dreams.
4. What are Kevontae Ruggs’ aspirations for the future?
Kevontae Ruggs aims to return to Division I football, preferably within the Southeastern Conference, and eventually pursue a career in the NFL.
5. What lessons can aspiring athletes learn from Kevontae Ruggs’ journey?
Kevontae Ruggs’ journey teaches aspiring athletes the importance of perseverance, familial support, and the ability to overcome challenges in pursuit of their dreams.