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Sports Spotlight - Justin Rankin

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 7:59 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - When you talk to Bismarck Bucks running back Justin Rankin, you’ll quickly realize he is always striving to improve. Hard work is a recipe for success when you have something to prove.

The Indoor Football League for many is a springboard into greater opportunity. Rankin was set to showcase his talent to the NFL when COVID came into play, and that’s when the opportunity came calling.

“I came out of college the year with COVID, and then coach (Corey) Ross actually hit me up when he was in Q.C. (Quad City). You know I kind of blew him off a little bit, I still got my pro day, this and that, and obviously all that got canceled. So, I was just sitting around training, then coach Ross ended up here. You know I’ll come play, get some film, try to obviously make it to the next level like everybody else here so,” said Rankin.

For a Division 1 college running back like Rankin, the IFL was never on the radar. Things change, and now he appreciates the league’s differences.

“They’re real fast pace, it’s nice, I enjoy it. You break a tackle, you make one person miss, you probably going to score 9 times out of 10, so I mean it’s fun, I don’t know it’s fun. You get hit over the wall, you see people go over the wall, I haven’t ever seen anything like that. I don’t want to go over the wall, I haven’t yet, I’m going to try not to, but I like watching other people go over it,” said Rankin.

From going over the wall to breaking one for a full 50 yards, a player’s effort is what’s going to get him noticed.

Head Coach Rod Miller said: “I mean he’s the same way. He comes to work every day, you know he knows when to have fun, but he knows when to take care of business. I mean that’s been really affectionate with this team because he plays, he performs, he works hard. He plays and practices like he plays in the games. Those are the things you want from players, especially a rookie player, he comes in and people look up to him. As a coaching staff, we love having a guy like him.”

From the affection of his team and coaches, Rankin gives it right back to the Bismarck community.

“First off, our fans are crazy. I like them. You know they real cool, they’re supportive, they’re having fun,” said Rankin.

Hoping for the opportunity at the next level, Rankin understands it won’t be handed to him. It’s about working every day to get where you want to be.

“That’s the ultimate goal, I mean, I feel like for everyone that’s playing football. I mean it’s just working, putting good stuff on film. You know what I mean? And doing the little things right, on and off the field,” said Rankin.

Through ten weeks, Rankin is 11th in the league in rushing per game and has scored 5 times on the ground. The Bucks are on a bye week. They head to Worcester, Massachusetts on July 10th.

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