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Frank Ragnow is the Nation’s Best Center

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Frank Ragnow, as one of the game's premier players, is poised for a banner senior year.

A center should be aggressive and athletic, savvy and strong and, quite literally and figuratively, the starting point for balanced offensive production; a center should be Frank Ragnow of Arkansas. The absolute prototype at his position at 6'5'', 319 pounds, Ragnow enters his senior year as a fixture on pre-season All-American teams and the tried and true centerpiece of his. Ragnow, heading into 2017, has started 26 consecutive games.

Ragnow is the latest in a long-line of front-line leaders for the Razorbacks. At a program where the likes of Shawn Andrews, the late Brandon Burlsworth and Jonathan Luigs left lasting legacies, Ragnow is now making his own mark. Last fall, he set the tone for a unit that was one of just three in college football, joining Louisville and Oklahoma, to produce a quarterback and a running back to average at least 260 passing yards and 100 rushing yards per game, respectively.

This past season, Ragnow's debut as the first-team center after starting at guard as a sophomore and playing in a reserve role as a freshman, he was nationally and regionally recognized for his performance. Ragnow was named the best run blocker, ranked as the top center and was listed as the best overall lineman in the country by Pro Football Focus. He is now considered by many to be college football's best center.

The resume is already remarkable. Last year, Ragnow did not allow a single sack. Two seasons ago, he was not flagged over the final nine games and did not give up a sack over the last seven. Pro Football Focus named Ragnow a first-team All-American, while Phil Steele named him a fourth-team member.

Away from the field, Ragnow experienced a staggering tragedy in 2016. Frank's father, Jon, died of a heart attack on October 1st. After returning home to Victoria for the week, flying with Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema and his wife Jen, Frank played for the Razorbacks that Saturday in a matchup against Alabama. Ragnow was nominated for the Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award.

This fall, Ragnow will lead Arkansas through a challenging schedule that features some of the best teams in the country. More opportunities to make a statement await. Expect him to continue to set the tone for the Razorbacks, further cementing his status as a both college great and, with his size and skill, a top professional prospect.  

Ragnow, as one of the game's premier players, is poised for a banner senior year. He is the standard for today's modern center. Numerous national honors are within reach, along with a reserved seat at the table for Arkansas' best players ever.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports