FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema plans to build the Razorbacks into a Southeastern Conference championship contender from the inside out.
He got another valuable building block to work with up front Friday.
Frank Ragnow, an offensive lineman from Chanhassen (Minn.) High, made a verbal commitment to the Razorbacks during a ceremony at his school. The 6-foot-6, 291-pound Ragnow chose Arkansas over Florida State and Minnesota.
"It’s SEC football," Ragnow told the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press. "You can lie and talk about how (the Big Ten) is up there. (The SEC) is the best competition. That’s where I want to go."
Ragnow was among the highest-rated prospects remaining on Arkansas’ board heading into next Wednesday’s National Signing Day. ESPN.com and Scout.com rate the 6-foot-6, 285-pound Ragnow as a four-star prospect on a five-star scale. He’s regarded as a three-star prospect according to Rivals.com.
"Great day for Razorback family… #woopig getting better one day at a time! Start of a great weekend for us #WPS," Bielema posted on his Twitter page minutes after Ragnow’s announcement.
Ragnow became the 23rd prospect to make a verbal commitment or sign with the Razorbacks for the 2014 class. Four of them are offensive linemen. Arkansas signed junior college offensive lineman Sebastian Tretola and has commitments from two others: St. Louis Christian Brothers College High’s Brian Wallace and Dallas Bishop Dunne High’s Jovan Pruitt.
The group is expected to join an offensive line that includes two 2013 signees who played immediately. Denver Kirkland and Dan Skipper started eight games as true freshmen last season, earning Freshmen All-America honors under offensive line coach Sam Pittman’s tutelage.
"Hogs building one of best young OLs in SEC," ESPN.com Recruiting Nation senior writer Jeremy Crabtree posted on his Twitter page Friday. "Adding Frank Ragnow huge for Sam Pittman. Great group w/Brian Wallace, Sebastian Tretola, etc."
Arkansas could add another offensive linemen early next week as well.
Sabino (Ariz.) High offensive lineman Andrew Mike will choose between Arkansas, Arizona, Washington and Vanderbilt.