Not that long ago, three-star defensive end Sheldon Rankins of Covington (Ga.) Eastside was close to making a commitment to North Carolina.
But with the specter of possible NCAA sanctions hanging over the program and the sudden dismissal of coach Butch Davis, Rankins decided to slow things down a bit.
"I'm just kind of sitting back on that one," Rankins said.
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Even so, Rankins has not eliminated the Tar Heels from contention.
"They're still in the hunt," Rankins said. "The firing of Coach Davis really took me by surprise. I didn't think that was going to happen. But [with UNC] it's a top-notch education, a great place and they still play great football. They've got a great coaching staff. I love [interim head coach] Everett Withers and Coach Joe Robinson. They're great people."
As of today, UNC has a spot in Rankins' top four, along with Auburn, Mississippi State and USF. Louisville and Nebraska are also in the mix, he said.
"I took a visit to USF not too long ago. I just loved everything about the place and the city. They've got a lot of things going on right now. I took a visit to Mississippi State, too. I didn't know the campus was going to be that beautiful. I love the coaching staff. They talked to me about playing early. With Auburn, I didn't really know they were interested in me until they offered. I spoke to [assistant coach Ted Roof] a couple of times. He talked about how he loves how I play the game. He said with my speed off the edge I could come in and fight for playing time as a freshman."
Rankins hasn't set up any officials yet, but said he plans to visit Auburn, Nebraska and USF.
"The other two are kind of up in the air," Rankins said.
For now, Rankins has no timetable to make a commitment.