Mississippi State

Making An Impact: In Life And Football

September 15, 2017

Making An Impact: In Life And Football

Senior captain Martinas Rankin is featured in this week’s Gameday Program.

The following feature story can be found in the Sept. 16 Mississippi State Football Game Program, which can be purchased for $5 in and around Davis Wade Stadium on Saturday.

The following feature story can be found in the Sept. 16 Mississippi State Football Game Program, which can be purchased for $5 in and around Davis Wade Stadium on Saturday.

Stepping onto the grassy greens of Scott Field at Davis Wade Stadium for his final season, Martinas Rankin, the senior offensive tackle from Mendenhall, Miss., still has unfinished business to attend to.
Initially starting his collegiate career at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Rankin had a vision and he knew exactly how he wanted it to play out for him to end up in Starkville.
“I wanted to come to a school in state and do something big; do something special,” said Rankin. “I am from Mississippi and I take a lot of pride being from Mississippi. Here I felt like the program fits my character and the type of person I am. Being a blue-collar guy, I did not have a lot of offers coming out of high school. I know for a lot of guys, coming here, this would be their only option so they would have to work hard. Hard work is the base of this program and the base of my life.”

Balancing being a student and an athlete can be tough for some, but for Rankin, he has stayed on top of his studies receiving SEC Academic Honor Roll accolades in each year he has been a Bulldog.

“Student-Athlete; student comes first for a reason,” said Rankin. “I know that is kind of cliché, but that has been my mindset since I was young. My mom always taught me to put school first. Everyone around me helped me to understand that football is not going to last forever so you need a fall back plan. So, I always put school first. Even if I make it to the league, there is still going to be a life after football so school has always been something I took serious and put first. If you take your classwork seriously, it will do dividends.”

 Majoring in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Clinical Exercise and Physiology, Rankin wants to become a physical therapist or a chiropractor. Preparing himself for the life after college, he is currently an intern at the Longest Student Health Center on campus where he works inside of the physical therapy clinic.

When he is not busy with school or football, Rankin spends a good amount of his time working within his Greek organization, Omega Psi Phi, but he makes sure to prioritize all his different affiliations.

“Priorities first; school then football first,” said Rankin. “Omega Psi Phi was put after all of that. My mom did not send me to school to be a part of a Greek organization, she sent me here to get an education. I was blessed to get a scholarship so school was my main priority and everything else just kind of fell in place. Going Greek was something I always wanted to do, but I did not lose sight of my priorities. I did not let it fill my head up or get me distracted.”

Giving back to the community has always been one of his main goals and being Greek and a member of the football team, Rankin has several avenues he can utilize to give back.

“Community work was another reason I really wanted to pursue a Greek organization,” said Rankin. “It gave me another platform to do some of my community service work. I feel like my calling in life is to have an impact on people and I try to do the best I can. From going home talking to the high school kids to going with the team to do things. This past summer we got a chance to go to the Blair E. Batson hospital in Jackson. I just want to be able to make a positive impact on people because I know people where I am from did not have that opportunity and that could have been something that helped push them along and help them teach how to make it through certain struggles.”

During his junior tenure with the Bulldogs, Rankin became a well-known member of the offensive line earning SEC Offensive Lineman of the week after the victory against Texas A&M. He has also been projected as a potentially high draft pick in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft, but with all of the preseason hype surrounding Rankin, he says his main focus is Mississippi State Football.

“I do not worry about that,” said Rankin. “I am more focused on being a leader for the team. Those things are not guaranteed so I do not worry about it at all. I have to focus on the task at hand and take everything day by day. If I take care of everything with the team and put all of my focus into that, everything else will take care of itself. The only guaranteed football I have is here at Mississippi State so the other stuff out there is just hype and I do not like to focus on the hype.”

As a senior and team captain, Rankin is now put in the position to be a leader for the team. It is up to him to step up and show the younger players how things are done giving positive feedback and constructive criticism.

“I try to focus on being a leader for the offensive line,” said Rankin. “The guys around me are younger and they are going through some of the struggles that I went through when I first got here so I am just trying to make sure they understand that if they take everything serious and handle things the right way, things will work out well in the end. A lot of those guys are talented and I feel like they could be special players if they buy into the program, focus and do not get distracted by outside influences.”

Rankin says his time with this program has been exceptional and although it is slowly coming to an end, he wants his teammates behind him to remember him just the way he is.

“My experience here has been great,” said Rankin. “I have gotten a lot of life lessons since being here. When times get hard, you have to fight through & trust God. I have had to lean on him and he has gotten me through a lot. I want to leave behind a positive impact. I want them to remember no matter how big I got or how high of a pedestal people try to put me on, that I was the same guy every day. That I was a guy that anyone could talk to and just a very down to earth guy.”

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