Looking back on George Ranager A.K.A. “Smooth” and his impact on the 1967 Wildcat State Championship

George Ranager A.K.A. “Smooth,” as he was often called is a guy whose name should never be forgotten.
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 6:59 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - In 1967, wide receiver, George Ranager was fast as lightning.

“First play from line of scrimmage. Coach Tyler knew whoever was on George Ranager was going to be surprised at how fast this guy was.”

George Ranager A.K.A. “Smooth,” as he was often called is a guy whose name should never be forgotten.

“When I ran they said I looked like I was running effortlessly and I wasn’t struggling to do anything. I played both quarterback and wide receiver and it came easy for me. So I guess it was just because I looked smooth out there.”

Light on his feet and quick as can be. Ranager was one of the seniors that led Meridian to their 1967 Big 8 State Championship. They beat Jackson Provine to win state that year.

The first play of that game is one he remembers well.

“Opening play, bob white was the QB and I was wide receiver. We came out and lined up to run a play and something had happened with the change, so they had to call the time out and they were straightening the chains out. So I went back to the huddle and told Bob I said Bob, when we break the huddle this time, if this guy lines up on. Me as close as he did then. So there ain’t no way he can cover me. So we did it. Bob looked over at me and. Gave me a signal, went 80 yards on the first play of the game. We never looked back.”

The Wildcats shut out Jackson Provine 34-0. Ranager was selected to play in the Mississippi All Star game that year where he caught 4 touchdown passes, three of those from Archie Manning. At the time that was the highest scoring all-star game with a 57-33 victory for the north team.

Ranager went on to Alabama where he played under head coach Paul Bear Bryant. Thankfully coach Tyler prepped him for what to expect in Tuscaloosa.

“I think coach Tyler prepared me. Playing under coach Bryant because they were a lot of like, they were disciplinary people.”

Still to this day, Ranager holds one of the longest kickoff returns in Iron Bowl history. He had over 1000 receiving yards while at Alabama.

Ranagers name is one that will always hold a place inside the bleachers at Ray Stadium.