- Name: Colby Ragland
- Height: 6’5”
- Weight: 310
- Position: OL
- College: University of Alabama at Birmingham
- Twitter: @_53reasons
- Instagram: colbyragland
Talk about your experience as a student. What is your major/minor? Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?
I started at Jones County Junior College and then transferred to UAB in 2018. Originally, my major was Kinesiology, but in Spring of 2019 I switched it to Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in Psychology and Nutrition Science. I graduated in Spring of 2020, and I am about to start a Masters program in Nonprofit Management and Professional Leadership.
What do your teammates say is your best quality?
My character and leadership. I do things the right way showing good work ethic. I arrive on time and handle my business.
What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
I’m able to use my nibble feet as a tackle or move inside and use my aggressiveness as a guard. I’ve played power and zone schemes. I’ve mainly honed my craft in inside and outside zone schemes at UAB. I feel like I have an advantage playing on the inside at guard given my size and ability to move.
I’ve been very flexible and teachable since I’ve played college ball. At Jones JC, I played as a much lighter weight as a DL. Transitioning to UAB, I have played both LT and LG. I feel like I can play both at the next level and play any position that a coach needs me to do.
Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
I played against Milton Williams of Louisiana Tech who’s a freak and a game changer. You always had to know where he was on the field. I also played against Jaelan Phillips of Miami who is an excellent player who ended up being drafted in the first round. We definitely had to study his game. Every play against him was a battle.
Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
WR Austin Watkins was a great teammate. Seeing him put in the work 4 times a day and then watching it come to fruition has been amazing.
Spencer Brown has also been an impressive player. I saw him convert from being a power back, losing 20 lbs and being able to run the outside zone effectively. Spencer developed into a complete back that broke a lot of records at UAB.
Jordan Smith is another freak athlete that I was glad to have on my team. Having a guy with his size and power helped me develop into a good pass blocker having our reps in practice.
Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
High school football was a bit of a struggle. We really weren’t that good, and that led us into having a different coach every year. There wasn’t much focus on football at our school. We maybe only had about 40 players on our team. Which meant that I stayed on the field most of the time, getting a break only on a few special teams plays here and there. In 11th grade, I was 320 lbs, and I decided that I wanted to play DL. I liked the idea of being on defense, hitting people and being ferocious. So, I worked very hard in order to drop my weight to 255 lbs. I learned a lot about nutrition and fitness and how to manage my weight. I eventually went back to playing OL which was a long process. Coach Garner really taught me how to become a good OL. Having the experience of playing defense also helped me understand what defenses try to do. I really became a student of the game understanding not only my position but several other positions on the field.
Another challenge that I had to face happened in 2019. It was my first year starting at UAB, and I had a player fall on my leg giving me a grade 2 MCL sprain. When that happened, I expected the worst even though it wasn’t that bad. I only missed a couple weeks. It was really the first time that I had missed a game in my life even going back to when I was younger. I had to get my mental aspect right during the recovery process. It was tough that I couldn’t be out on the field physically for my team. Yet, I was still out there supporting my team with another set of eyes and helping them see some of the tendencies of the defense. I came back from my injury sooner than expected. The trainer said that I was the fastest player to come back from that kind of injury. My only regret is that I didn’t play the game against Tennessee. That was the day of my birthday, and I really wanted to be out there.
If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
In middle school up until 9th grade, I played basketball, but that was really just to stay in shape. I was also on the bowling team in high school which was really fun. I never played baseball, and I’ve always respected those players with how many games that they have to play. So, I would either say baseball or golf.
What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
Graduating from college and making it this far in football has been my biggest personal achievement. It’s very humbling to be a division one football player that has a chance to get to the NFL.
Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
My most memorable moments are a bit different. My highlights seem like it was just what I was supposed to do. The things that stick out are just different. I remember my redshirt year in 2018. You could play up to 4 games and still maintain your redshirt. I was out on special teams as part of the shield on a punt. We were playing against Middle Tennessee for the Conference Championship. They were caught having 12 players on the field which ended up giving us the first down helping us win the game. Despite not playing much, I still felt a sense of pride for helping my team win our championship.
Another moment that comes to mind is our game against Louisiana Tech. We were driving down the field on our turn to score in overtime. On a run play, we were certain that the ball had touched the plane for the score, but the refs ruled it a fumble. After the game, there was footage that came out which determined that it was a touchdown. So, the conference officials issued an apology. That one still gets me though. You find out in those moments what you’re really made of, and you obviously never want the game ever to get back to a situation where it comes that close.
Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
The Lakers are my favorite professional team. Lebron James is my favorite athlete of all-time. Some of my favorite football players include Michael Vick anc JJ Watt. As far as offensive lineman, I like watching David Bakhtiari and Trent Williams who are beasts. I also like watching Willie Anderson who is an elite lineman that hardly ever gives up a sack. Since I moved inside, I’ve watched players like Quenton Nelson and Elgton Jenkins. I like Jenkins’ versatility. He played center, guard and tackle for the Packers last year.
Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
I like to listen to a lot of music. Lil Baby is my favorite music artist.
What is your favorite comfort food?
One of my comfort foods is peanut butter Reeses Cups. One of the local restaurants that I like is called Yummy Bowl. They have a great Mongolian Stir Fry.
Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?
My favorite actors are Denzel Washington and Will Smith. My favorite movies include the Beverly Hills Cop series and all the Marvel movies. My favorite comedian of all-time is Bernie Mac.
What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
When I get free time, I like to play Call of Duty: War Zone. I also like to cook, and I enjoy hunting deer.
Why do you play football? Who or what motivates you the most?
I play because I love it. I love how football teaches you a lot about life. Another reason why I play the game is that there are people in my life that look up to me, and I want to be a role model for them. My parents and family motivate me the most. I’ve seen my parents work my whole life giving me more than I ever needed. I want to repay them and retire them someday.