Philadelphia watches as Strong finds success at ASU
When wide receiver Jaelen Strong scores a touchdown for the Sun Devils, text messages start flying around Philadelphia, writes Mike Jensen of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
That's because ASU football's No. 21 is the son of the legendary, late John Rankin.
"Before leukemia took John Rankin away from his then 9-year-old son, Rankin left an imprint throughout the city," Jensen writes. "At Drexel, where he remains the No. 2 all-time leading basketball scorer (2,111 points). In the Philadelphia Police Department, where he rose to detective."
Strong's success at ASU is capturing more attention from the city of brotherly love than anyone had expected. To those who knew Rankin – and many throughout Philly did – Strong resembles his father, who was a pillar of the community.
"It's almost like John is really living through Jaelen – his voice, his mannerisms, little things he says, his laugh," said Shawn Wilson, Rankin's former partner with the Philadelphia police.
Jensen writes, "Growing up, Jaelen was constantly asked, why isn't basketball his sport?
"Now they all watch him play and the question is answered."