January 8, 2012

Under Armour top performer: Reggie Ragland

Reggie Ragland
Position: Linebacker
Hometown: Madison, Ala.
High School: Bob Jones High School

Under Armour All-America Game: Ragland capped off a solid week of practice with five tackles, including two for a loss.

Expert's Take: Ragland was arguably the best linebacker at Under Armour. He is rock solid on a good frame and brings a lot of athleticism and physicality to the spot. He has the athleticism to play on the outside but the physicality and strength to make a dent on the inside as well. He does a good job of getting off of blockers and making his way down to the line of scrimmage and taking good angles to the ball. He showed great tackling technique, making one-on-one plays in space, where he latched on and wrenched down ball carriers.

Under Armour marked the second time that I got to see Ragland during the all-star season, as he also participated in Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game, and was very impressive at that event as well. On the hoof, he stands out for how he carried his weight on his frame, but his athleticism is what really catches your eye when you watch him play. He is a guy that can play sideline-to-sideline but is also an intimidating force against an offensive lineman in the middle of the scrum at the line of scrimmage.

-Chris Nee, Rivals.com recruiting analyst

Impact at Alabama: Ragland wants to play early when he gets to Alabama. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound star has even toyed with the idea of playing tight end at UA if that gets him on the field first. After watching him at the Under Armour game, it's clear his future remains at linebacker. The thing that Ragland has going for him is his versatility. He can play all four linebacker spots for the Crimson Tide, and that could help him play sooner rather than later.

It won't be easy for the Rivals100 star as Alabama has a slew of other players coming in at the same position, including Ryan Anderson, Denzel Devall, Tyler Hayes and Dillon Lee. Out of that group, I expect Anderson and Ragland to make the earliest impact for the Tide, and I can see Ragland becoming a two or three year starter once he gets to Tuscaloosa.

Quotable:
On Alabama's incoming LB class:
"If everybody comes in and does what they're supposed to do, I think we could be the best linebacker corps to ever come in to 'Bama. We all have to come in, learn the playbook, learn the system, get to know each other and get that bond as a whole. If we do that, I think we'll be the best linebacker corps to ever come through."

On playing basketball his senior year:
"I'm excited I played because it's my last year playing basketball, competitive-wise. If I grow about six or seven inches this summer, that would be nice. Basketball was my first true love, and it's going to be hard for me to give it up, but I know I have to."

On his performance at the Under Armour AA Game:
"I wanted to prove that I'm the best linebacker in the country. I just wanted to come out here, do my thing, show everybody I can play, and I think I did that a little bit. It didn't even feel like I was playing on national television. I just came out here and had fun with my team."

Reach Greg Ostendorf at greg@tidesports.com.

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