FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas junior center Frank Ragnow has had an outstanding 2016 season, one that has left him with a decision to make. Should he return to Arkansas for his senior year, or enter the 2017 NFL Draft?
Last week, Ragnow was named a first-team All-American by Pro Football Focus for his efforts this season. He added fourth-team All-American and first-team All-SEC by Phil Steele to his accolades Wednesday.
Ragnow’s standout season came while also dealing with the death of his father, Jon, who passed away in early October. He spoke to the media for the first time since the death of his father about the emotions of this season, his recent honors and the possibility of entering the draft. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: How do you feel about the postseason accolades?
A: “It’s cool. Individually before the season you set goals to get postseason awards and get recognized by your peers, but what matters most really is if your locker room has got your back and if your locker room thinks you’re doing well and if your coaches think you’re doing well. But it’s really cool. It’s a dream come true getting recognized as All-SEC, All-American. That’s what I’ve been dreaming about since I was a kid, so it’s pretty dang cool.”
Q: It’s been a whirlwind season for you with personal things … what’s that been like?
A: “You know, it’s been a tough one. It really makes you realize how precious everything is and how much this game really means to me, how much it’s been such a getaway for me to get away from the tough things I’m going through right now. I’m just so thankful to have this team, Coach B, the fans. It’s just been unbelievable. It’s been quite the season.”
Q: Are there any specific teammates you’ve leaned on this season?
A: “To be honest, every single one of the guys in this locker room have been incredible. I might not even talk to them that often, but this locker room, every single guy has your back. I would go to war with any of them every single day. It’s amazing knowing that. They’ve all been there for me, so it’s been awesome.”
Q: Where are you at in your decision to return or go pro?
A: “Right now I’m just trying to gather all the information. It’s one of, if not the biggest decisions I’ll ever make in my life, so I’m trying to get as much information, soak it up from all the people that have been through the process. I’m just trying to gather it all so I can make the right and educated decision.”
Q: So you aren’t leaning one way or the other?
A: “Nope. I’ve submitted my paperwork, so I’m still waiting on that and I’m just trying to wait and gather it all and after the bowl game, or maybe before, I don’t know, just get a chance to sit down, talk with my mom, talk with Coach B, talk with whoever I need to talk to and try to make the best decision for me.”
Q: Quarterback Austin Allen, offensive coordinator Dan Enos and others have said they want you back. What have you said to them?
A: “It’s kind of picked up lately. They’re kind of starting to give me a little trash, like, ‘Oh, will we be seeing you at the pool party next season?’ and all that stuff. We’re all just a bunch of buddies and they’re giving me crap. They know I’m going to do what’s best for me and they know that I’m going to make sure that it’s the right decision, too.”
Q: Pro Football Focus gave you the highest grade among centers in college football. What did you think of that?
A: “I thought it was pretty cool. Individually, you set goals before the season. You’re trying to reach these goals, get recognized and to be recognized by Pro Football Focus, which I think is a pretty credible site, as the No. 1 center in the country is pretty dang cool. But at the end of the day, what really matters is, are my teammates happy with me, are my coaches happy with me, am I playing up to par for them? That’s all that really matters.”