Brett Rankin has been figuring it all out lately, putting together the necessary pieces to progress in his football career.
One could even say he’s engineering a successful path so far.
It’s been a month since the former Emerald Ridge High wide receiver left South Hill and moved out to the Midwest to begin his life at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, where Rankin is set help the Hardrockers football team.
“I came out a month early … I’ve been able to work out with the (team) and experience living on my own,” Rankin said via phone from Rapid City, South Dakota.
Rankin is hoping his stay with the Hardrockers is a long one as he’s planning on taking full advantage of his college experience.
“I want to redshirt this year because it will give me an extra year here … an extra year to finish my major and to continue experiencing the college life,” he added.
This college experience isn’t just about Rankin helping the Hardrockers — a Division II program that competes in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference — but it’s also about him gearing up for success beyond the football field.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love playing football,” Rankin said. “But I have to think about what’s after that. I came to this school because it gave me an engineering major I wanted — and I get to play football for the school.”
This team attitude Rankin speaks of is only one of many aspects he learned this past year in helping Emerald Ridge reach new heights in winning an SPSL South Division title.
It was also a year where he learned some of the toughest lessons of his life. One of the toughest lessons Rankin learned while playing for Emerald Ridge was that there was life beyond the football field. That life didn’t just begin and end in the minutes of the game.
Life went beyond all those times Rankin geared up for the Jaguars, and that’s okay.
“This last year, I learned how to work as a team, not just on the field, but in the community,” Rankin said. “This team reminded me a little bit about that.”
It’s about Rankin pushing himself to be successful and majoring in mining engineering, something he believes he can be successful in.
Football is a privilege, and while Rankin is working hard for the Hardrockers — both on the field and in the classroom — he’s going to prove that he learned what it takes to earn this opportunity he’s been given.
Playing any sport at the collegiate level is time consuming and just physically exhausting. And so is being a full-time engineering student.
“It’s going to be tough balancing it all, but I think I’ll be fine,” Rankin said.
That’s why it’s important for Rankin to take his time and enjoy what he has in front of him. Time and again, it is said that many people aspire to just to reach football at the collegiate level. It’s the goal many children dream about.
But this isn’t what drives Rankin.
“I want to be successful,” Rankin said. “I feel this major (mining engineering) and playing for this school will help me with that. My major is 100 percent guaranteed to have a job lined up after college. I have a scholarship that will help me achieve that after college.”
Football is just the vehicle, gearing up Rankin for success after he puts aside his gear. And while Rankin’s playing this game for the Hardrockers, he’s going to enjoy the ride.
“I’m just enjoying my time before classes start up in a few weeks. Just getting to know the guys (here) and learning the area,” Rankin added.