FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The top graded offensive lineman in the nation by Pro Football focus over the last two seasons and one of the primary candidates for the Rimington Trophy, Arkansas senior offensive lineman Frank Ragnow will miss the remainder of the season with a high ankle sprain, head coach Bret Bielema announced on Monday.
“Frank unfortunately suffered a lower-leg injury, high-ankle sprain Saturday,” Bielema said. “On Sunday, we took a closer look, and it’s been confirmed now that he’ll be out for the rest of the year, unfortunately. He sustained an injury that will probably need a procedure. The procedure that we’re looking into will be about a 12-week recovery. It’s one that is unfortunate that it takes that long. But, it’s a minor procedure that has had a high, high success rate. He should have a 12-week recovery and then be full strength.
“The sad part is he’s playing absolutely unbelievable football. I’ve had a handful of offensive linemen drafted in the first round and he is at their level if not even higher. I put him in the same category as guys like Kevin Zeitler (RG, Cleveland Browns), a guy who started as a rookie and was a first-round draft pick, and Joe Thomas (LT, Cleveland Browns). The thing about Frank is he’s an exceptional football mind, and he’s an exceptional athlete for a big guy. At 315 pounds, his genetics, the way he runs, the ability to bend, move, flex, and his competitive nature, is just off the charts.
“I’ve had several NFL people tell me during the course of his first seven weeks of the season that he’s probably playing not just as the best interior lineman but one of the best linemen in the country they’ve seen all year. He was playing at a high, high level … I’ve never seen a player play as dominant as he’s been through seven games.”
A team captain and consensus preseason All-American, Ragnow has started the last 33 games and has not given up a sack over 2,603 career snaps at center and right guard. Since becoming a permanent starter as a sophomore in 2015, Ragnow has only missed 43 offensive snaps.
After starting all 13 games at right guard in 2015, Ragnow made the move to center prior to his junior season and immediately made his case as the best center in college football. The Victoria, Minnesota, native helped clear the way for sophomore running back Rawleigh Williams to lead the SEC in rushing during the regular season and first-year starter Austin Allen to throw for a league-best 3,430 yards.
Ragnow’s first season at center ended with him being named the nation’s top offensive lineman, the best run blocker and a first-team All-American by Pro Football Focus.