It was almost a year ago Thursday when Henry Ruggs IlI and his Alabama Crimson tide went to battle with Bryan Edwards and SEC foe South Carolina.
For Ruggs, it was the type of stellar game he had become accustomed to having — 122 receiving yards on six receptions, including a killer 81-yard touchdown catch on a slant route.
Now teammates, Edwards says he still watches Ruggs make those same plays everyday in practice.
"On the field, he is who I thought he was," Edwards said. "I remember when (Alabama) came to Carolina, I saw him take little slants routes for 60, 70 yards, and he's still doing stuff like that today."
For the Gamecocks, Edwards also had a strong performance, leading his team with a team-high nine receptions for 79 yards. Alabama went on to defeat the Gamecocks 47-23, and now, damn near a year to the date of that game, Edwards and Ruggs will line up as rookie wideouts together for the Silver and Black.
This will be the first time since 2009 that the Raiders have started two rookie receivers in a season opener.
"We feel really good about both of those players," said OC Greg Olson. "The game hasn't been too big for them, credit to their college coaches and the college programs they came from. They've played in front of big crowds, and they're not going to be playing in front of a big crowd this season, but I think their coaches prepared them pretty well in college for the next level, and we're fortunate that way. We haven't had to hold back at all with those two guys."
Despite Ruggs admitting to being a bit "anxious" and "emotional" to play in his first NFL game on Sunday, he has no intention of letting the pressure get to him.
"You never let any moment get too big," Ruggs said. "This is still football regardless, so whether you make a play or make a mistake, you still have to move on and play the next play."
After years of being competitors in the SEC, a conference that has produced six of the last 10 college football national champions, Ruggs and Edwards believe they can become a great receiver tandem on any given Sunday moving forward.
"I feel that we can accomplish a lot," Edwards added. "We work off each other very well. He's a speed guy; I'm more of an in-between guy, a big-body guy. I feel like we can feed off each other and be two valuable assets to the team."
"We're both incredibly confident," Ruggs said. "We talked, and we know that's a big role as starters as first-year players, but at the end of the day it's football. We came here to play football, and we both played in the SEC. (We're) just coming in to compete and play the game.
"We know how to play and it will speak for itself."
Head out to Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center to check out the Silver and Black as they get ready for their Week 1 matchup against the Carolina Panthers.