After DeVonta Smith caught the game-winning 41-yard touchdown pass to win the 2018 CFB National Championship over Georgia, Henry Ruggs III ran all the way over to the opposite side of the end zone to celebrate with his teammate.
The same can be said when Smith won the 2020 Heisman Trophy, and one of the first people to contact him was Ruggs, congratulating Smith on being the first receiver to win the award in 20 years. Both also reached out to congratulate each other after being first-round picks out of Alabama in back-to-back years.
Ruggs and Smith have indicated that though there may not be any biological connection between the two, they're as close to brothers as you can get.
"It's like playing against my younger brother. I treat Smitty like blood," Ruggs said of the Philadelphia Eagles rookie. "We became close... and that relationship will never die."
When Smith was asked by Philadelphia media about his relationship with the Raiders wide receiver, he reciprocated the same feelings back.
"I was the person that he came and talked to, and he's the person I came and talked to," said Smith. "Us just knowing each other's backgrounds, knowing each other's stories, just always being there for each other.
"Any time I was down about something, he was always there. Any time he was down, I was there for him."
The two receivers consider themselves best friends, dating back to being roommates together in their time at Alabama. Earlier this offseason, Ruggs said that he and Smith still have constant communication with each other and text every other day about their lives, adjusting to the NFL and game planning. They also credit each other for bringing the best out of each of them on and off the field. They've envisioned this moment of playing in the NFL together since they arrived to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 2017.
"That's my brother from another mother," Smith told the media Thursday morning. "Working at Alabama, this is the stuff we dreamed of, being able to play against each other in the NFL. Now we're here."
What makes this game so special for both players is the impact they've been able to make for their respective teams. Both Ruggs and Smith are leading their team in receiving yards and several other receiving categories.
"Henry has opened up so much. He communicates with me so well in the games," Derek Carr said Wednesday. "It's unbelievable how well he communicates and articulates exactly what he sees, and he's right."
While both Ruggs and Smith want to see the other succeed this season, their competitiveness will be on full display Sunday – like any brother vs. brother competition would be.
"Us playing against each other is going to be fun because I'm not going to want to sit down on the bench and watch the screen," said Ruggs. "I'm going to be on the sideline – hopefully he's on our sideline – so I can talk smack and make noise and he'll make some noise back.
"It will just be cool to watch him work and see who he's become, and him do the same thing."
Smith said he'll be looking forward to doing the same thing to Ruggs while he's in the game on offense. He has already began to "talk smack" before the game has even started.
"I already told him, the bunch formation where he runs the post, if I see him in a bunch formation, I'm hollering," said Smith. "I told him, he's not scoring on that this week."
This game will be the first NFL matchup for the two Crimson Tide teammates that combined for 3,825 receiving yards and 47 receiving touchdowns in their three seasons together. Alongside Ruggs and Smith, there will be a whopping eight Crimson Tide alumni playing in Allegiant Stadium on Sunday.