Big 33 MVP Rankin Ready for Rutgers

Incoming Rutgers freshman quarterback Blake Rankin lit it up last night in the Big 33 All-Star Game at Hershey Park and took home MVP honors for his performance. Making his family proud with an early Father's Day gift, Rankin spoke with about his big day and weighed in on the commitment of 2013 passer Chris Laviano

Bloomsburg Area (Pa.) quarterback Blake Rankin was relatively unknown as a recruit and continued to fly under the radar after committing to Rutgers because of his small-school background.

Not anymore.

Rankin put on a show last night in front of a national television audience on the NFL Network and took home Pennsylvania MVP honors in the Big 33 All-Star Game at Hershey Park.

Though his team fell three points short in overtime, Rankin displayed an impressive arm with two touchdown passes and 145 yards on 11-of-17 passing. Outshining incoming Florida freshman Skyler Mornhinweg for Team Pennsylvania, Rankin showed his ankle is 100 percent ready for his Rutgers arrival.

"It was a great experience to play against opponents like that and play with great players around me," Rankin said. "It was a lot of fun. It's a huge honor to get player of the game."

Rankin was one of four Rutgers players named to the all-star roster and said bringing attention to the future of the Scarlet Knights was a major motivator.

"It's huge for Rutgers and for our state to be able to represent them," Rankin said. "It's awesome. I think it says a lot for what Rutgers is getting to have so many people selected and the other Rutgers players were great. I had a blast the whole week with them."

Rankin spent the game taking snaps from future center Brandon Arcidiacono, who impressed him with skill and athleticism at the position.

"I felt like the snaps and the protection with Arch were really good," Rankin said. "The line did a great job blocking and it was just overall good, but I wish we would have won."

Rutgers has used a true freshman in a starting role at quarterback for the last three seasons and Rankin feels ready to make it four in a row.

Healthy and ready to compete, Rankin hopes to give incumbents Chas Dodd and Gary Nova competition in training camp.

"None of these honors or MVPs mater when it gets to next week," Rankin said. "I have to prove myself again at Rutgers. I feel like I'm ready. I'm going to get down there and get into the playbook and learn it as fast as I can. I'm pretty confident that I'm going to compete and try for a starting spot."

Rankin entered the Big 33 game on a high after hearing about the verbal commitment of 2013 quarterback Chris Laviano to Rutgers. The two built a relationship during Laviano's recruitment and Rankin is stoked to have him on-board.

"It's exciting because he's a really good quarterback from what I've seen," said Rankin, who worked with Laviano at last summer's Rutgers camp. "I think we'll have a great quarterback group at Rutgers, especially once he gets there. I'm pretty excited to work with everybody."

Rankin got his recruitment out of the way early in similar fashion to Laviano, who did himself a big favor by committing early in the process, Rankin said.

"It helps you recruit the other kids," Rankin said. "It gets you more familiar with other players and coaches that are currently with the team. As far as building relationships, I think it's huge to commit early."

Rankin is squared away academically and will officially enroll at Rutgers next weekend.

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