Date Committed: April 6, 2012
Ranked: Three-star, No. 38 LB
Position status: Though the middle linebacker core lost its most physical facet, Alec Ogletree, it's returning arguably one of the strongest pieces of the defense, Amarlo Herrera. The rising junior made major strides in the weight room this offseason and is noticeably much stronger in practice. Teammates and coaches also said that Herrera has shown signs of taking a bigger leadership role. He will, after all, be the signal caller on the defense at the ‘Mo' linebacker position. Herrera might be the only big name that fans recognize right now, but Georgia signed four middle linebackers in its 2013 recruiting class, two of whom enrolled early (Rankin and Reggie Carter). There are nearly a dozen inside linebackers on the current roster, which should provide some eager competition come August when camp opens.
The evaluation: Rankin has football in his blood. His father coaches at the high school level, and he embedded a lethal combination of football facets in his son at a young age – a rugged physicality and knowledgeable football IQ. By high school, Rankin was one of the top defenders in Florida, leading the state with 189 tackles in 2011. He's an old-school type of linebacker who studies film of Dick Butkus and Mike Singletary in his spare time. Additionally, Rankin prides himself on finishing plays by running through the tackle – something he says separates him from his competition.
Estimated impact: Rankin is smart, evidenced by his thought process during his commitment. He came to Georgia because he knew he could enroll early to tweak his game and compete for playing time, he likes how Todd Grantham develops linebackers and knew that there was thin depth at the inside linebacker position. Based on practice observations thus far this spring, he's one of the more physical players and working relentlessly to get in the rotation early. If he keeps it up, he very well could.