"It took a whole lot of work," Rankin said. "I've added 60
pounds to my frame from high school to where I'm at now. I'm right at 295.
Everything else is about the same. I was still very athletic in high school
but playing tackle at 235 pounds isn't going to get you a whole lot of looks.
I just needed to add some size and strength and now I have."
Rankin started every game at left tackle for MS Gulf Coast CC last season.
"I'm just really aggressive. I use my athletic ability to move to the second level, but being aggressive and physical are my biggest strengths. I can move my feet really well for a big man though. At least that's what the coaches tell me."
The soft-spoken Mendenhall, Miss., native headed north recently for an in-state visit.
"I went up to Ole Miss a few days ago and got a good look at everything. I went up there in high school for a camp and to the Egg Bowl, but I didn't get to see everything. I enjoyed my time there. It felt like home. It gave me that homey feeling. I just like the environment at Ole Miss."
This trip gave him some one-on-one time to spend with the Ole Miss coaches.
"I got to see some stuff that I didn't get to see before. I got to spend a lot of time with their coaches. I didn't get to do that last time so that was what was different this time around. They're good people. They're going to do what it takes to make sure their players succeed. You can come to them, and they'll be more like a father figure in your life."
Things started heating up between the Rebels and Rankin in late April.
"It felt like home. It gave me that homey feeling. I just like the environment at Ole Miss.""
"That's when they offered me. They said I fit in their scheme because I'm long and athletic. They want some tackles who can really move their feet, and they're a little short on depth there so they need someone to come in and give them immediate help."
The Rebels have done a good job of answering all questions.
"I really didn't have any questions on my mind when I went up there because they've been very up front through the whole recruiting process. They let me know everything I needed to know before I asked anything. I guess what stands out the most about Ole Miss to me are the people around there. Their facilities are really nice too. I like the loyalty they show me, and I feel like I really fit in with their players and coaches. Like I said, it just gives me that homey feeling when I'm up there."
Where else has the 6' 4", 295-pound Rankin visited so far?
"I've been to Auburn twice and USM once. I plan on going to MSU this or next weekend."
What stood out about Auburn during his visit? "Their coaches are good people and have been truthful to me. Their facilities are good too and they have a good fan base."
Southern Miss is close to home.
"I just went up there for a practice and spent as much time as I could with their coaches. I know a lot of the players at USM too. It was a pretty good visit too."
Which colleges have offered?
"Auburn, Ole Miss, Kentucky, Louisville, MSU, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Florida, USM, Memphis, Kansas and some smaller schools."
Who is coming after Rankin the hardest?
"I would say Ole Miss, Oklahoma, MSU and Kentucky."
When it does come decision time, what will be the main factors?
"I graduate in December so it's not that far away. I'm just looking for the place that can set me up with the best chance to succeed academically and on the field. That's basically it."
Yancy Porter is the Mississippi Scout for Scout.com and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org