After redshirting his true junior season at Mississippi State, offensive tackle Martinas Rankin is finally getting his first game experience.
"It has been fun," said Rankin. "But there are a lot of things that I have to learn, a lot of things that I have to focus on because it is a different style of play than junior college. Some things can be more complicated at times."
Redshirting is tough for a high school player and even tougher for a junior college player, but Rankin sees advantages to being a redshirt junior college player.
"By me going to junior college, I was a few steps ahead of the high school players," said Rankin. "I had a more mature mindset going into my redshirt year. It was still tough, though. Every day during it I prayed to God to help me focus on the little things to help me get better for this year."
And it wasn't just getting himself better but learning the difference in junior college ball compared to SEC football.
"One thing I learned while redshirting is realizing how critical one play in the SEC could be," said Rankin. " Any given play during a game could determine whether you win or lose. It kind of opened up my eyes."
During games this season, he is sharing playing time with sophomore offensive tackle Elgton Jenkins. He sees a couple of advantages to that.
"With the rotation that we have, there should be no reason why we don't give everything we have on every play," said Rankin. "Another thing is I have learned things from him. When he is out there I learned things by watching him. And when I am out there he is watching me. So, there are some benefits to it.
"We also talk during practice and when we are outside of the facility. We are always talking about something. He and I are real good friends, so it is an all the time thing."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network.