DALLAS — On the field, Reggie Ragland surveys with an experienced eye. He commands the defense. Alabama’s defense relies on the veteran linebacker to call out what adjustments it needs to make.
He isn’t always the most vocal on the team, relying on his actions to relay the message in the week leading up to the game.
“He kind of leads by example,” linebacker Dillon Lee said. “What he does say is important and something we need to do.”
For one of the most complex defenses in college football, one that is rarely broken open, especially up front, Ragland is its general–the General, even.
“When he on the field, it’s like he flip a switch and he [becomes]‘The General,’” senior linebacker Denzel Devall said. “We off the field, you would think Reggie’s just some normal guy off the street that you just met, just how cool and laid back he is, you’d never know that’s Reggie Ragland. That’s just how he is.”
The General has 90 total tackles, 30 more than the next person on the list. He’s recorded 6.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He has six pass breakups and six quarterback hurries this year along with forcing two fumbles.
For his career, he has 210 total tackles and four total sacks.
“When he on the field, he feel like Spartacus, ain’t nobody stop him,” Devall said. “It’s just that switch, we all got that switch, but when he’s out there, it’s just a different Reggie, and then when we back at the room chilling it’s laid back Reggie, he love to play. That’s just how he is, he’s a great guy.”
While Ragland uses more of a laid-back approach than some other leaders on defense like A’Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed, he’s vocal when he needs to be, and he offers no quarter to the young players on the team.
After last year’s leaders said one thing and did another–saying they needed to be running after the ball but two plays or reps later start walking off the field, for example Ragland wanted his words to reflect his actions. He said young players take notice.
During the offseason, Mekhi Brown came up to him because he could see that Ragland was living up to his words.
“You could see some guys, they do it and some guys, they don’t,” Ragland said. “Some guys are pretenders and he said, ‘Reggie, you’re not a pretender.’”
Devall’s description of Ragland as a general is perfect, safety Eddie Jackson said.
“He takes control of the defense, for real,” Jackson said. “I mean, he don’t really yell as much unless he’s really angry so he just sits back and he just tells you, ‘Come on we need to get a rollin’, come on now.’ so he really takes control of our defense.”
Off the field, Ragland is full of character, Devall said. He’s the type of guy you call at 3 a.m. when your car breaks down. He’s the guy who will get out of bed to come help you.
“That’s just the way he is,” Devall said. “He going to help you no matter what. I mean, last year to this year, he’s just, he’s pretty much the same ‘cause Reggie’s never changed.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports