Visit 'Family Time' for Rankin

During Darien Rankin's North Carolina official visit last weekend, the Tar Heel verbal commitment was able to focus on more than just football.

"This time, we got time to sit down and eat with the coaches and talk about stuff other than football all the time," Rankin said. "We were talking about academics, what I prefer to do when I come there, and [the coaches] got to talk to my parents and my parents got to ask a couple of questions."

The highlight of the visit, though, for Rankin, a 5-foot-11, 179-pound safety from Salisbury (N.C.), was spending time with the UNC players.

"We got to spend time as a family," Rankin said. "Saturday night, we went out with the fella's and hung out with them for a while."

Zach Brown was Rankin's player host throughout the weekend.

"He's a down to earth person," Rankin said. "He introduced us to new people and new recruits that we didn't meet, yet."

Before going out with the players on Saturday night, Rankin and his parents met with Everett Withers, UNC's defensive coordinator.

"We went over film and we talked about when I come up what are his expectations," Rankin said. "Basically, he likes me as strong safety. He thinks I can get the job done by my effort and my hard work."

Rankin and his parents met with Butch Davis on Sunday before concluding the official visit.

"We pushed the football aspect aside and we were just basically talking about getting through college," Rankin said. "He wants me to get my degree and he wants me to be happy wherever I go."

Rankin has been verbally committed to UNC since early July.

"I feel like I'm glad that I committed there," said Rankin, who is very much on track to qualify academically. "It's somewhere I really want to go. I like the coaches and I've always liked North Carolina – I didn't think I'd be playing football there. I grew up as a North Carolina basketball fan."

Sweetening the situation even more is that Rankin will continue to play football with Salisbury teammate and close friend Romar Morris.

"I've known Romar since I was in the third grade," Rankin said. "It feels good that he'll still be by my side. I'm glad he's with me."

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