FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Frank Ragnow played a pretty dirty trick on his quarterback Tuesday morning.
Ragnow — Arkansas’ junior center — sent Austin Allen a text message, informing him that he planned to announce after practice that he would declare for the 2017 NFL Draft and skip his senior season.
“Yeah, I was pissed. I didn’t talk to him all day,” Allen said with a laugh Tuesday afternoon. “I didn’t say one word to him.
“I was just joking with him. No matter what he did, I would have supported him.”
Fortunately for Allen — and the entire Razorbacks team — Ragnow’s early-morning text was a joke. Ragnow announced before Tuesday’s practice that he would, in fact, return to Arkansas for his senior season.
“That’s huge right there for everyone,” Allen said. “Selfishly, I didn’t want him to go.
“He’s one of, if not the best player on our team right now. That’s huge for our offense next year and the whole team.”
Ragnow started all 13 games at right guard for the Razorbacks during his sophomore season, but moved to center this year and has flourished. He’s been a bright, shining spot on an offensive line that has at times struggled to keep Allen well-protected.
He admitted last week that he was thinking about making the jump to the NFL, but didn’t even wait until after the Belk Bowl — scheduled for Dec. 29 against Virginia Tech in Charlotte, N.C. — to decide he wanted to play one more year of college football.
With Ragnow’s decision made, Arkansas will return four starters on the offensive line next season. The only loss will be senior left tackle Dan Skipper.
“He’s out there making calls,” Allen said of Ragnow. “He can get everyone doing the right thing out there. He can tell the right tackle what to do, the guards, he calls out the Mike (linebacker).
“He does a lot of things out there to go along with being the best center in college football in my mind.
“It’s a 5-star guy coming back for us, and that’s the biggest recruit we can get right there.”