"It was a real honor because I knew Charlie Strong from when he was at Florida and he had a real good defense," Rankins told InsideTheVille.com. "He's brought that same mentality to Louisville. It was real exciting for me."
Louisville offered Rankins, and Eastside teammate Shaquille Huff, a 6-1, 293-pound defensive tackle. Good friends, Rankins and Huff would like to attend college together next year. Louisville is the first program to offer both players and it's something Rankins and Huff are excited about.
"We definitely want to take a visit up there and see what the campus life is like," Rankins said. "We'd really like to go to the same school. [Louisville] being our first offer together we're really excited."
Rankins also holds offers from Florida Atlantic, Mississippi State, USF, North Carolina, and Boston College, his most recent offer. The versatile defensive lineman plans to check out two of the schools that have offered scholarships this spring.
"I'll probably be up to Louisville the early part of the summer, probably June," Rankins said. "I know I'm going to North Carolina March 26, and I'm going to South Florida on spring break April 3-4."
Those it's still early in the recruiting process, North Carolina, Louisville and Mississippi State stand out as early favorites on Rankins list.
"North Carolina because they were my first offer," Rankins said. "The Louisville offer was really cool because I followed Charlie Strong when he was the coordinator at Florida. I've really had an eye on him since he moved to Louisville. And I really like the Mississippi State offer because I followed Dan Mullen as well when he was at Florida."
Education, comfort-level and playing time will be big factors in Rankins' decision.
"First of all the education has to be good," Rankins said. "Secondly, you've got to feel at home. I can't go to a school where it doesn't feel right. Third, I'm just looking for a place I can go and put my talents to use."
As a junior, Rankins was named Second Team All-State led the region with 15 sacks. An athletic prospect, Rankins ran a 4.8 forty at the Simmons Showcase in Atlanta in January. He could play a number of positions on the defensive line at the next level.
"I bring versatility," said Rankins. "I can play any position on the d-line and can even move back and play linebacker. I bring the pass rush ability off the edge and I'm coachable. I work hard and I bring everything a team needs to succeed."