Alabama defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs is back home in Ruston, visiting cousins who are signing Division I basketball scholarships.
“I remember when I was getting ready to sign to my college, ” says Buggs. “It’s a great feeling to be able to look at them and see that they’re going to the D-I levels. It just shows the community and the people in the world that no matter who you are, you can make it out.”
Relationships on-and-off the gridiron have always been important to Buggs. Whether it’s coaches or relatives, it’s helped him into being the National Champion he is today.
“Being able to be coached by both [Billy and Brad] Laird, they both pushed me to do great things, ” Buggs continues. “They’ve always seen a lot of potential in me and do my best.”
He posted impressive numbers at the prep level. During his final year in North Central Louisiana, number 91, had 102 tackles with 19 for a loss.
“I never thought I would have those types of statistics, ” says Buggs. “It’s a great feeling to know that I did have that. I was a leader here at Ruston High School for my team. And, being able to perform at the highest level is a great feeling.”
Buggs’ transition from high school to college didn’t go nearly as planned. Despite being the leading edge rusher for the Bearcats. He didn’t receive a single offer. Instead, he was forced to being his journey at a junior college in Mississippi.
“It made me feel like I was nobody then, ” Buggs recalls. “I was always somebody. I just kept working and working until I got a call from Mississippi Gulf Coach Community College. I just expanded and expanded, and kept working hard. And, great things fell in place for me.
But, a team leading 75 takedowns later, Buggs’ hard work came to fruition. Alabama came knocking at his door.
“I had great film at [Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College]. And, that’s when [Alabama] came onto me. That’s when I visited. It was a home away from home. Great coaching staff, great people. Fans love you. It’s great.
Despite his love for playing in “the boot,” an important factor kept him from suiting up in purple and gold.
“Stability of the coaching staff, ” says Buggs. “Not every football player wants to play or go play somewhere where they don’t know who the coach is going to be. They [didn’t] know who their defensive coordinator was going to be. I just knew that going to Alabama, that the coaching staff wasn’t going to change.”