SEC INSIDER

Arkansas C Ragnow may see time on defense

Sports Xchange

July 10, 2017 at 1:43 pm.

Nov 25, 2016; Columbia, MO, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks offensive lineman Frank Ragnow (72) signals at the line of scrimmage to the rest of the offensive line during the first half agains the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field. Missouri won 28-24. Photo Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 25, 2016; Columbia, MO, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks offensive lineman Frank Ragnow (72) signals at the line of scrimmage to the rest of the offensive line during the first half agains the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field. Missouri won 28-24. Photo Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

HOOVER — Arkansas senior Frank Ragnow, arguably the top center in the country, might pull double duty this season.

Ragnow could see action on the defensive line, Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema said on Monday at the start of SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala.

“Coach B and I have talked about it in certain situations, and I’m all about it,” said the 6-foot-4, 319-pound Ragnow, rated the 95th-best overall draft prospect, according to NFLDraftScout.com.

“That would be cool. I played defense in high school and I loved it. It would be fun to get a different side of the ball and get after the QB.”

Ragnow, who has started 26 consecutive games, is a first-team preseason All-American by Lindy’s. NFLDraftScout.com rates Ragnow as the No. 3 center prospect behind Michigan’s Mason Cole and UCLA’s Scott Quessenberry.

Bielema’s ability to recruit and develop NFL-caliber offensive linemen was not lost when he left Wisconsin to join the SEC after the 2012 season. He lured Ragnow — a Minnesota native — to the Razorbacks.

The powerfully built Ragnow saw immediate playing time at center as a true freshman and started all 13 games at right guard a year later, allowing just two sacks. He slid back inside to center for most of the 2016 season while starting at right guard against Texas State.

“I have a center who I think is one of the best I have ever coached. A tremendously talented football player,” Bielema said.

“He just epitomizes everything that I love in a football player. He’s a tremendous person off the field. On the field, he’s a little nasty in the right way. He plays with great passion. He’s extremely intelligent. His football IQ is off the charts.”

Ragnow plays in an offense that still relies on a power run game. He possesses rare size for a center but may be able to remain at the pivot in the NFL due to his power and knee bend, which helps him anchor against bull rushers and root out opponents in the running game.

He is best suited to playing center (or right guard) in a power-based scheme as he does not possess ideal lateral agility and speed to recover.

“I’m all about it,” he said of power football. “I love getting after guys, I love trying to maul guys, get pancakes and everything.”