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
"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.
CREDIT: JOHN MAHONEY, GAZETTE