Richmond-Burton lineman prepares to become Arkansas Razorback
At this time next year, Dalton Wagner will be surrounded by screaming Arkansas fans.
Wagner, a senior offensive lineman at Richmond-Burton, already has made his post-high-school plans known. On July 29, he verbally committed to play football for the Razorbacks. He told the McHenry Times this week that he plans to make his official visit to the school soon.
“I'm all set up to get down there and get everything done,” Wagner said.
Numerous schools vied for the services of Wagner, a senior this past season. On 247sports.com, Wagner is the No. 8 prospect in Illinois for the Class of 2017 and is the No. 2 offensive lineman in the state. Nationally, he is rated No. 57 among offensive tackles. The website has him rated as three stars out of a possible five.
Likewise, ESPN.com has Wagner rated as three stars, with him No. 18 overall in Illinois and No. 79 nationally at his position.
At 6-feet-9 and 312 pounds, Wagner said he's actually still growing a bit.
“I think I have improved pretty well over the past couple of years,” he said. “My biggest improvements are probably my strength, speed and body control. I was able to fill out my body a little after a growth spurt and get better control of it.”
Wagner said he was encouraged by his parents to try the sport and played it with his brother as early as 5 years old. As the years have gone on, he has come to like working with a group of people, all bringing different skill sets and mentalities, with the singular purpose of making a team successful in beating the opposition.
“It's amazing seeing it all come together,” he said. “I just love everything about the sport – both on and off the field.”
Wagner's size certainly seems like a good fit for the Razorbacks. According to a recent depth chart on ArkansasRazorbacks.com, Arkansas' starting offensive linemen average almost 6 feet, 6 inches in height and 318.4 pounds. That size has translated well to the field.
Wagner said Arkansas stood out from the rest of the schools he considered.
They put their players first and wanted them to succeed in everything that they do,” he said. “Their facilities were top-of-the-line, and their academic support staff and athletic staff were top notch. They truly care about their student-athletes. (Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema) also meets weekly with his academic staff to see how we are doing in the classroom.”
All that combined to make Arkansas the place where Wagner knew he wanted to be.
“I have been looking for the best place for me to fit socially and academically, and a place that will make me the best possible person I can be, and I know the Razorbacks can do it,” he said.
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