Arkansas loses All-SEC OL Frank Ragnow to season-ending injury

Arkansas center Frank Ragnow gets ready to snap the ball against Auburn in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Fayetteville, Ark., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

One of the best interior linemen in the SEC is out for the remainder of the season.

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema announced Monday that Frank Ragnow, a preseason All-SEC selection, suffered a high-ankle sprain in Saturday’s loss to Auburn. Dating back to 2015, Ragnow has started 33 straight games — 18 at center and 15 right guard. Now, his collegiate career has come to a premature end.

Bielema said Ragnow will probably need surgery and recovery is “about 12 weeks.”

“The sad part is he’s playing absolutely unbelievable football,” Bielema said. “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.”

In addition to Ragnow, freshman Chase Hayden could also be out for the rest of the year. Bielema said Hayden suffered a lower leg fracture and will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks. Hayden has 326 yards and four touchdowns on 61 carries. That total is tied with senior David Williams for the team lead. Williams and Devwah Whaley (295 yards), who split carries pretty evenly with Hayden, will carry the rushing load moving forward for the Razorbacks.

Meanwhile, in Ragnow’s absence, junior Zach Rogers is expected to move up to the No. 1 offense.

The Razorbacks, 2-5 on the season, return to action Saturday at Ole Miss.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!