Rankin captures Kent Hull Trophy

MSU's Martinas Rankin (55)
Staff Writer

Mississippi State senior offensive lineman Martinas Rankin hopes to be hoisting the Egg Bowl Trophy later this week, but before that has the chance to happen, the Bulldogs left tackle has already added some hardware to his own trophy case.

Rankin was picked as the recipient of the 2017 Kent Hull Trophy on Tuesday. The award is presented annually to the state of Mississippi’s most outstanding collegiate offensive lineman.

“If there is a young man that exemplifies what Kent Hull was known for both on the field and off the field, Martinas is all that and more,” MSU co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach John Hevesy said. “Since the day he arrived in Starkville, he has developed into an outstanding player and a better teammate.”

Rankin is the third Bulldog to ever win the Kent Hull Trophy. Gabe Jackson won it in 2013. Justin Senior took home the prize last year.

Rankin earned the honor by becoming a key piece of MSU’s offensive front, which has been one of the best in all of college football this season. Mississippi State’s offensive line has paved the way for the Bulldogs to rush for 2,701 yards this season – a total that stands as the Southeastern Conference’s third-best mark. MSU’s offensive line has also allowed the fewest sacks of any Power 5 team this season with only eight given up.

Individually, Rankin has played in 21 games in his MSU career and started 17 contests. He is widely considered a top National Football League prospect and, earlier this month, was selected to participate in the 2018 Senior Bowl.

Rankin has been just as successful off the field. He holds a 3.31 GPA and his working towards a degree in kinesiology with a focus in clinical physiology. He is a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
With Rankin’s talent on the field and work ethic off of it, Hevesy sees great things ahead for his player.

“Martinas has as bright of a future as anyone I have been around, whether it be at the next level on the field or in the business world,” Hevesy said.

Grantham tabbed
Broyles semifinalist

Mississippi State defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Todd Grantham was picked as one of 15 semifinalists for the Broyles Award on Tuesday. The Broyles Award is presented annually to the nation’s top assistant coach.

Grantham has overseen a total turnaround for Mississippi State’s defense this season. In his first season with the program, Grantham has turned the Bulldogs into a top 25 defense nationally in five different categories just one season after State’s defense was often a stumbling block for the team.

This year, State ranks first in first down defense, ninth in total defense and passing defense, 20th in scoring defense and 25th in rush defense.

An 18-member committee will select five finalists for the Broyles Award. Those finalists will be invited to travel to Little Rock, Ark., where the honor will be presented on Dec. 5.

McCowan picked
Player of the Week

MSU women’s basketball center Teaira McCowan was picked as the Southeastern Conference’s Player of the Week on Tuesday. McCowan earned the honor after helping lead MSU to a pair of wins last week to move the Bulldogs to 3-0 this season.

Against Georgia State last Thursday, McCowan went 9-for-10 from the field and scored 19 total points. Then, on Sunday against Southern Miss, McCowan recorded her 11th career double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

This season, McCowan is third on the MSU team with 14.3 points per game. She is State’s leading rebounder with 8.3 boards per contest.

McCowan and the Bulldogs also learned as they made their way to Mexico for the Cancun Challenge that they had moved up to No. 3 in the USA Today/Coaches poll.

Bulldogs add softball signee

MSU softball announced on Tuesday that Jamie Gregg has been added to the 2018 signing class. Gregg is currently a senior at Hoover (Ala.) High School.

In her most recent season at Hoover, Gregg hit .440 with a .960 on-base percentage before being sidelined by an ACL injury at the end of the year.

“We’re thrilled about Jamie joining our Bulldog softball family,” MSU head coach Vann Stuedeman said. “She represents all of the qualities that epitomize our program – strong character, team-oriented, enthusiastic, faith-filled and possesses a champion’s mindset. Her athleticism and experience will most assuredly make a positive impact in our program.”