Rankin drafted to Houston TexansBy MARLAN JONES,
With the 80th pick in the NFL draft, the Houston Texans selected Martinas Rankin, offensive lineman from Mississippi State University and former Mendenhall Tiger. Rankin’s name was called on the second night of the draft.
This is a goal that he has pursued since beginning his football career in the fourth grade. Rankin shared his story with the newspaper last year about his journey to becoming a collegiate athlete, now pro.
He began his career the same as many by playing peewee football in the fourth grade. Rankin had a big frame so he gravitated to the line of scrimmage, where he played guard and defensive tackle through the seventh grade when he donned his first Mendenhall Tigers uniform.
Rankin said, “In the seventh grade I played guard and linebacker and by the eighth grade I was playing everywhere.” He filled in at many positions. By the ninth grade Rankin finally settled into his position as an offensive tackle.
He said, “I never really had a preference when it came to positions, I just liked to play.”
He continued to excel and grow as a player, due in large part to his work ethic. In addition to the team’s scheduled practice, Rankin would put in extra work to hone his craft during his free time.
“A lot of times I would be at the field by myself. I would do the team stuff and then work extra on my own.” Rankin revealed that he would sometimes work out three or more times a day.
Martinas was the anchor of the Tiger offensive line during his high school career. Rankin finished at Mendenhall and received offers from several junior colleges and Mississippi Valley State. He signed with Gulf Coast Community College and had an impressive two seasons. He was awarded All-American and All-State honors, and unlike high school the offers came rolling in. Big time programs sought the services of the number one ranked JUCO tackle in the nation.
It was an important decision to be made but Rankin approached it like all others with maturity and a high level of intelligence. The Academic- All American decided to keep his talents in the state of Mississippi and attend Mississippi State University. “I wanted to be a part of a big time team in Mississippi.” He said that being a part of something special in his home state would mean more to him than if it happen anywhere else.
Rankin would start for the Mississippi State Bulldogs as a junior. Football is his passion and he was able to develop a plan to reach his goals. “You really have to love football and love what you’re doing to get through the hard days. Everything is a step farther so it’s not just going to come to you.”
Following a successful senior campaign with Mississippi State Rankin shifted gears and began preparing for the NFL. His hard work and dedication to his craft finally paid off on April 27 when he was drafted. This is the end of one journey and the beginning of the next as Martinas Rankin sets out to become an outstanding professional.
His message to the younger generation is, “If you have a goal, you work hard for it and get your education. Take it serious and keep god first. Do more than what’s expected, it’s not going to be easy but anything worth having is always going to be hard. Remember to take nothing for granted.”