football Edit

Auburn enters mix with Rankins

With 20 offers in his pocket, three-star defensive end Sheldon Rankins of Covington (Ga.) Eastside was pretty content.
But on Thursday, he got a nice surprise.
"My head coach told me Auburn wanted to offer," Rankins said. "They still want to see me in camp, but the offer is there. I wanted to go there this weekend, but I'm not going to be able to make it. I'm going to try to make it down there toward the end of the month for a visit."
Auburn is now firmly in the picture, according to the 6-foot-3, 260-pounder.
Rankins said North Carolina is his leader with the Tigers, Louisville, Mississippi State and South Florida also in his top five. According to Rankins, he was close to pulling the trigger during a recent visit to Chapel Hill, but has decided to see how the school's situation with the NCAA plays out before making a final decision.
In addition to making a future visit to Auburn, Rankins plans to check out USF next week.
Now, back to Auburn.
What was Rankins' reaction to Thursday's development?
"Uh, wow," he said. "It came out of nowhere, but I'm glad it came out of nowhere. They're the national champions. The fact they want to offer me a scholarship and bring me on to be part of their program is pretty special. I've spoken to Coach [Ted] Roof a few times. He's a real cool dude. He doesn't put pressure on guys. He's a laid-back guy. He asked questions about my family. "
Rankins plans to learn more about the Tigers.
"I know a little about the program," he said. "I know they've put good players in the [NFL]. They've really turned things around with [head coach] Gene Chizik."