A teammate of current Auburn Tigers D'haquille Williams and Derrick Moncrief last season as well as current commitments Jason Smith and Tony Bridges, there is no question that Coach Gus Malzahn‘s program was already on his to-see list before he made a trip to the Plains on Saturday.
Getting to see Williams and Moncrief in action during a spring scrimmage was one of the highlights of the day for Rankin as he also got the opportunity to spend time with the coaching staff and find out where they project him on the next level.
"It was nice to see them," Rankin said of his former teammates. "Some people I was just teammates with, now they're moving on to the next level. We're real close so that kind of helps if I were to go to Auburn because I know those guys. They love it. They loved it before they came there, but it's even better now.
"I liked it," he added. "I feel like I fit in this offense. It was nice to get down there and see everybody and see how I measured up to the other linemen. I think it's just my athleticism, being able to move around and make blocks. At Gulf Coast we run basically the same offense."
In addition to the ties from his junior college to Auburn, there is an even bigger connection for Rankin and it's blood. The cousin of current back-up center Xavier Dampeer and also originally from Mendenhall, Miss., Rankin said having his cousin and lifelong playing companion at Auburn makes them a strong contender for him moving forward.
"It helped me a lot because me and him talk a lot about the program," Rankin said. "He has a lot do with it, too. We talk about playing together all the time, what it would feel like to play side-by-side again for a couple more years. We have been together since we were in the fourth grade so doing it at this level would be special."
Spending time with Offensive Line Coach J.B. Grimes, Offensive Coordinator Rhett Lashlee, and Tight Ends Coach Scott Fountain, Rankin said he enjoyed getting to know the staff and likes what he sees from the Tigers. Hoping to get an offer this spring when the coaching staff can get a more thorough look at him, the big lineman said at the moment his goal is to keep working hard and follow the lead of his cousin who showed him that hard work pays off.
"If Auburn was to offer me they would be my number one," he noted.