When Daryl Rankin and the Warriors offence come off the field, he takes a drink of water and tells the coach he's ready.

Rankin is doing it all
Lasalle warrior versatile. Playing on offence, defence,
special teams, midget grid star is thorn in opponents' side

ARPON BASU, Freelance
Wednesday, October 01, 2003

If you're watching a LaSalle Warriors midget football game, regardless of what else is happening on the field, chances are you'll see Daryl Rankin hitting someone. If the Warriors are on offence, Rankin will be busy opening holes for his running back or protecting his quarterback from his position at left guard. If the Warriors are on defence, Rankin will be rushing the quarterback and wrapping up opposing runners from his position at nose tackle. You'll even get to see Rankin on the Warriors' special teams, blocking field-goal attempts or returning kicks.

All this begs the question: When exactly does the guy take a breather?

"Sometimes on defence and on punt returns," 17-year-old Rankin explained in an interview at Vanier College, where he is completing his first semester. "But now they want me to go on punt returns, too."

Rankin wants to be on the field so much, his coaches have to force him to sit down and collect himself from time to time.

"When I get off the field (on offence), I take a bit of water and go right to the defensive line coach to tell him I'm ready,"Rankin said. "Sometimes he sends me back to the bench to get more rest."

Rankin packs a lot of responsibility on to his 240-pound frame. Not only does he excel on special teams, plus anchoring both the offensive and defensive lines, he also relishes his role as a team captain.

"We called a team meeting after two losses in a row against teams we should have demolished," Rankin said. The very next game, LaSalle upset the first place and previously unbeaten Laval Bulldogs 18-16 in Laval.

"We ruined their perfect season," Rankin said.

He claims no preference for his roles on offence and defence, though he will have to choose one or the other at some point. He does admit, however, that the guys on defence enjoy far more glory than the obscure offensive linemen.

"On the defensive line, it shows how you play. You get a tackle or a sack, they keep stats for that, and everyone's real hyped when you make a play. On the offensive line, it's harder to get recognition," he said, before adding how much fun it is to open up a nice hole for your running back. "I honestly prefer to play both ways, but just being on the field is an honour."

Rankin opted to go with the playing time at LaSalle rather than run the risk of languishing on the bench for Vanier this season, but he plans to go out for the team next year. If he makes it there, Rankin will know what got him there.

"I'm basically there to plow people," he said.

PHOTO CREDIT: JOHN MAHONEY, GAZETTE