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The Cardinal Countdown: 98 Days Until Kickoff

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

#98 Sheldon Rankins

Class: Senior

Ht/Wt: 6-2/303

Position: Defensive End

Hometown: Covington, GA

Twitter: N/A

Thoughts: I promise not to bombard you with links to my previous posts throughout the whole countdown but it makes me feel like I might have a small clue as to what I’m talking about when I called for a player to have a ‘breakout’ season or step into a larger role and then that actually occurs (don’t hold your breath for the ‘Wow, I was really wrong on this one’ links). Rankins was setup to take on a bigger role last season and he jumped at the opportunity. As a solid role player his first two years Rankins knew it was his time to shine and shine he did, leading the defensive line with 8 sacks, 13.5 tackles for loss, 53 total tackles, 1 fumble recovery, 2 interceptions and if I told you had a 37 yard punt return would you believe me?! (he didn’t….but you weren’t quite sure there for a second). Sheldon dominated upfront, and what the stats don’t show you was his consistent level of intensity along the line. Sheldon got in the backfield when asked, he sealed the edge and he even dropped back on occasion. His overall play was so good in fact, he was named Defensive Player of the year from the Cardinal Coaching Staff for 2014. The change to the 3-4 defensive scheme was a blessing for a player like Rankins and the good news is that all signs point to him being even better this season. Official stats show him adding 16lbs since this time last year and coaches have praised his level of play over the spring, basically dominating a younger and less experienced offensive line. Rankins was a big piece of an excellent defense last season but is now viewed as a leader for a defensive unit that could be even better than their 2014 counterpart. Maybe not going to far out on a limb here, but I think you see Rankins on Sundays.

Sweet Tweet: Sheldon doesn’t have a twitter account but anyone with a computer and 15 minutes could make a fake account and actually deceive others into believing that what they posted was in fact really coming from Sheldon Rankins.

Rule #1: Don’t do that.

Rule #2: Don’t get fooled by others who do.

I’ve never taken the bait on a fake twitter account but I do remember very clearly one of the worst times I was ever deceived in my life. The year was 1996, I was strolling through the electronic wonderland known as Circuit City and found an awesome compilation CD with all the amazing jams my 14 year old self could handle. Hit after hit after hit, and it could all be mine for as little as nine dollars. Looks like you just got my grass cutting money Circuit City. Sold. Of course, I could never listen to it in my parents car but I was pumped to let it blast through my Sony Discman as soon as I walked through the door. I head to my bedroom, settle in and then about 8 seconds into the CD I realized…..What. The. Crap. I was not in fact listening to the rhythmic stylings of one Keith Sweat but something much much different. I flipped the CD over and right there staring back at me, in size 4 font, at the very bottom of the case I painfully read "Your favorite hits of today as performed by the Beep Bop Gang". No Keith Sweat, no Tony Rich Project, no Blackstreet, no Oasis….nothing but unfiltered, unadulterated Beep Bop.

To this day I still have trust issues. Screw you Beep Bop.

Screw you.