Running Ragged: Ragland making most of timeBy Nolan Imsande | 11/19/2014 9:40pm
The UA linebacker, Reggie Ragland, a junior from Madison, Alabama, has finally gotten the chance to prove himself this year. CW | Pete Pajor
Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland has finally gotten the chance to prove himself this year. The junior from Madison, Alabama, who was buried on the depth chart by Nico Johnson and C.J. Mosley, has made the most of the opportunity that he has been given this year.
“Getting on the field, really,” Ragland said of the key to his success this year. “Finally getting onto the field, because I had All-Americans in front of me. I know one thing, I can run. That’s one thing I always told myself since I was young, that I can run. That and effort will get me noticed.”
The junior was a four-star recruit and rated as the No. 1 inside linebacker by Rivals.com when he graduated from Bob Jones High School in 2012. He committed to Alabama over Florida and Auburn. Coming out of high school he ran a 4.6-second 40-yard dash and had a 34.5-inch vertical leap in high school.
Ragland was a multi-sport star at Bob Jones, playing football and basketball. He was part of the 2009-10 Alabama State Championship basketball team during his sophomore year of high school. One of his teammates on his high school basketball team is current Alabama basketball standout Levi Randolph.
Ragland has become one of the key players on the Crimson Tide defense this year. He currently leads the team in tackles with a total of 67 and also has seven and half tackles for loss.
“Reggie has gotten better and better with every game,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “I think he’s another one of those guys that didn’t have a whole lot of experience before, so as you play and as you gain experience, you realize what it takes to play well.”
One of the more memorable plays of the year was his interception against Texas A&M. Ragland was in the midst of rushing Aggies’ quarterback Kenny Hill when he lept up to grab the ball out of the air as it left Hill’s hand.
“I thought I made a good play for the team, and it got us off the field,” Ragland said. “They were driving down the field and you could tell everybody in the secondary was a little winded. Somebody had to make a play and luckily I made it.”
Ragland was a standout on special teams before beating out Reuben Foster for the inside linebacker job opposite of Trey DePriest. He had one of his best games on Saturday in Baton Rouge. He made 13 tackles while playing the game with a broken hand. Ragland revealed the injury after the game saying that he broke a bone in his hand in practice the week before the game.
The linebacker was also recently named a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, which is awarded annually to the best linebacker in college football and was won by teammate C.J. Mosley last year.
“Reggie has been doing great,” Alabama safety Landon Collins said. “It’s really starting to slow down for him. He’s flying around, making plays. It’s like it was for him in high school.”