So often the outcome of a football game falls into the hands, or rather the feet, of the kicker. However the life of a kicker often is something of a mystery. The same could be said about Delaware’s redshirt junior Frank Raggo.
The beginning of a kicker’s career is generally the most fascinating part of the whole story. It often starts with the failure in different sports and having the natural ability to get the ball through the uprights. Yet Raggo’s story was drastically different.
“I was playing soccer at the time in middle school and one of my friend’s dads who was the football coach at the time saw me and asked me to try out for the football team.” Raggo said, of his first involvement in kicking. “So I went and tried out and I was just good at it. I ended up starting on the freshmen team and got pulled up to varsity that same year.”
Raggo did not quit soccer; he actually kept playing on a highly competitive club team while remaining the kicker for the football team.
As a sophomore, Raggo started to travel more for football and as he got better, he started to think about a future in football at the college level. He traveled extensively to college camps and stayed in many motels around the country almost every weekend.
However, once he visited the university, he fell in love. The campus immediately attracted him and the people sealed the deal. As a sophomore in high school, he told his father he wanted to attend Delaware regardless of whether or not he played football.
One day after coming back from practice, Frank was on his phone and he noticed a twitter message from the head coach of the football team at Delaware.
“Hey Frank, do you have any video we can take a look at?” read the message. Raggo sent them his tapes and the staff was impressed. They had him over for an official visit and Raggo committed on the spot despite having several offers elsewhere.
Brought in on a half scholarship, Raggo was determined to start as a freshman since he was promised a full scholarship should he complete that achievement. Unfortunately for Raggo, he tore his hamstring in camp and was sidelined for almost a year.
“My morale was way down, I didn’t even know what to think at the time,” Raggo said. “I just kept telling myself I had to get better and I had to get better soon.”
The New Jersey native had fight in his blood. He fought back hard and endured hours of physical therapy to return back to playing form. He succeeded in flying colors as he set several Delaware football freshman records, such as most field goals in a single game and most field goals in a season. He has started as the kicker every year since.
Raggo’s signature moment as a Blue Hen came against William & Mary on Oct. 3. On the last possession of the game, the Blue Hens lined up for a field goal and Raggo converted for the win.
“It was awesome man,” Raggo reflected. “My family was in the stands, my friends were at Grottos and sending me Snapchats of the whole bar going crazy. I felt like a celebrity that night walking around campus.”
The life of a kicker is not all glamorous and Raggo made that clear. He definitely wanted to debunk a myth about the work ethic of a kicker.
“Kickers work as hard as anyone else,” Raggo said. “I know many people are like ‘this guy just shows up and kicks the ball a few times a game’ that’s not the case at all man. I’m working as hard as anyone else, I’m in a group with the linebackers doing all the workouts they do. I like to think if I work as hard as they are I will have their respect.”
Respect and competitiveness are qualities that pour out of Raggo. He raved about next season’s team.
“We’re going to the playoffs this year, I promise you that.”