Will Gragg has not played a single down for a high school varsity football team. That means he has no varsity stats or video from varsity football games to show off to college coaches.
The only thing Gragg can show off right now is his body and what he can do at football camps.
That was actually all Gragg needed as the sophomore-to-be has already received one of the biggest scores of his high school career — a scholarship offer from the University of Arkansas to play football for the Razorbacks.
Gragg was told of the offer after spending three days at the UA high school football camp in mid-June.
“I was pretty surprised,” Gragg said. “I had no clue. I just went out there and played my best and it paid off. This just gets me to work harder going into the year.”
That’s a pretty big step for Gragg, who played for the Monticello junior varsity team last year as a freshman.
Gragg will play for Pine Bluff High School this upcoming season as a tight end and a defensive end. The offer Gragg has from Arkansas is as a tight end. Gragg’s family moved to Pine Bluff since his dad, Kelvin, works for the Pine Bluff School District as a director of federal programs.
Gragg’s brother Chris will be a senior tight end for Arkansas and has been named to the preseason All-SEC second team by Phil Steele.
Gragg does not look like a typical sophomore, especially in football pads. He is 6-foot-4 and weighs 238 pounds at the age of 15. He turns 16 in September. Will is already bigger than Chris, who is listed on the Arkansas roster at 6-3 and 236 pounds.
Gragg can already run the 40-yard dash in 4.80 seconds. That would have been the seventh-best time among tight ends at this past year’s NFL combine. Chris has his brother beat in that area, though. Will said his brother can run the 40-yard dash in between 4.40 and 4.50 seconds.
Because of Will Gragg’s advanced physical development, the coaches at the UA football class put him in a group with the seniors. That might only have made Gragg stand out more.
“I was running drills with the seniors … and in every drill, I wanted to be the first guy in line and I did that,” he said. “I don’t want to say I was better than them, but I put myself in position to succeed and I did that.”
He also put himself in position to get an early scholarship offer. Arkansas assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Tim Horton, who also recruited Chris Gragg, put the offer on the table for Will.
“They said they liked my hands, agility, that I have pretty good speed and that I was basically playing with the big boys,” Gragg said.
Arkansas is the first school to offer him a scholarship, Gragg said. He has received interest from Arkansas State, Louisiana Tech and Louisiana-Monroe.
“Those are just letters, not anything serious yet,” he said.
Even though he has the offer already from the Razorbacks, Gragg was not ready to give a verbal commitment yet. He still has plenty of time to make that decision.
“I am keeping my options open,” he said. “I’ve got quite a while before I have to make any decisions.”
Now Gragg is working on getting prepared for Zebras’ upcoming season. After spending last year in a run-oriented offense in Monticello, Gragg will be a part of the Zebras’ spread offense.
“Monticello runs the ball a lot and I didn’t see a lot of the ball, but in Pine Bluff, I will see it quite a bit,” he said. “I am just ready to compete, especially at the 6A level and one of the tougher conferences in Arkansas.”
The scholarship offer will not hold Gragg back, either. Even though he could commit right now and maybe cruise through the next three years, the offer only makes him want to work harder.
“I am just working as hard as I would if I didn’t have it,” Gragg said. “The coaches make sure of that, and coach (Bobby) Bolding keeps helping me strive to be the best player I can be.”