On Saturday, several players got great exposure at the HBCU Pigskin Showdown which CNBC and Peacock televised. One player that helped his pro stock tremendously was Jacory Rankin from Mississippi Valley State.
After finishing a career at Mississippi Valley State that saw him catch 86 passes for 1110 yards and 9 touchdowns, Rankin caught 7 passes for 98 yards at the HBCU Pigskin Showdown. For some writers, well, maybe just me, his performance conjured memories of another great Mississippi Valley State receiver.
Nearly 38 years ago, Jerry Rice capped a legendary college career at the Blue-Gray Classic, catching 4 passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns. One of the touchdowns was a thrilling 60-yarder.
Even football casuals know Jerry Rice would go on to be arguably the greatest player in NFL history, but arguably Jacory Rankin’s performance in Saturday’s all-star game was better than Rice’s.
Rankin caught more passes, seven, than Rice’s four. Although Rice had more receiving yards than Rankin, with 104 to Rankin’s 98, Rankin had more all-purpose yards. Rankin added a 16-yard kick return for good measure. Jerry Rice did not return a kick in the 1984 Blue-Gray Classic and only had one kick return for six yards in his over 20-year career.
While consistency marked Rankin’s performance in the HBCU Pigskin Showdown, it was not without thrilling moments, including a 54-yard touchdown catch, reminiscent of Rice’s 60-yard touchdown in the Blue-Gray Classic.
Rankin made a statement for himself on Saturday and at the very least, should be a fixture this Spring with the USFL or XFL. Delta Devils fans may debate whether Rice or Rankin had a better end to their college careers for decades to come.