Martinas Rankin arrived at Mississippi State a year ago with high expectations.
Rankin was a four-star prospect and rated the nation’s No. 1 offensive tackle out of Gulf Coast Community College and considered to be the Bulldogs’ future bookend.
The 6-foot-5, 302-pounder competed with Justin Senior throughout the spring for the starting spot at right tackle, a battle he eventually lost.
“They told me at the end of the spring that if I didn’t win the spot then I could possibly be redshirting,” Rankin said. “It was something they wanted me to be thinking about to give me some added motivation. It didn’t work out but it’s all part of God’s plan and I just have to follow it.”
Rankin admitted he initially struggled with the idea of redshirting but believes it was in the best interest of his future to do so with only two years of eligibility left.
“I wanted to redshirt if I didn’t win the spot because I didn’t want to waste a year,” Rankin said. “It was real tough but I just had to wait until my time. I’m preparing for when my time comes because it’s coming anytime at this point.”
Although Rankin was redshirting, he dressed out and attended all 13 of MSU’s games this past fall. Not only was he serving as an emergency offensive line option but it also helped him get a glimpse of what the competition is like in the trenches of the Southeastern Conference.
“It was a great opportunity for me to work on a lot of little things,” Rankin said. “I was able to see what’s ahead of me. By going to all the games, I was able to see how the SEC works and how you’ve got to give everything you’ve got on every play.”
The Mendenhall native continued to work at right tackle throughout much of the fall but also started to work in at left tackle as well late in the season. He is expected to start the spring as the team’s No. 1 left tackle when practice begins on March 9, a position he played so effectively at the junior college level.
Rankin is using his experiences from his first year in Starkville to fuel his motivation to live up to the lofty goals that he and others have set forth for him.
“My role is to keep working hard and attacking so I can make the starting lineup next year,” Rankin said. “I want to be the guy that I should be.”