Signee Update: Darien Rankin

As his senior year winds down, North Carolina signee Darien Rankin's focus is on his outdoor track season.

"We have regionals next weekend," Rankin said. "I made regionals for all my events."

Rankin participates in the 4x100 relay, high jump, long jump, and triple jump for Salisbury (N.C.). If he places in the top four at the regional track meet in any of his events, he'll go onto the state championship meet.

"If I came out there and do my best, I feel like I can win in most of my events [in the regional meet]," Rankin said.

Rankin's personal bests include 22-foot-6 in the long jump, 44-foot-6 in the triple jump, and 6-foot-8 in the high jump.

Between running track and helping the football team to a state championship, Rankin started on Salisbury's basketball team. He averaged 16 points-a-game, while the team reached the fourth round of the NCHSAA 2A playoffs.

Despite his year-round sports schedule, Rankin always finds time for the weight room. In the past few months, he's been following the workout regimen that UNC sent him.

"It's kind of easy [to balance working out with my sports schedule]," Rankin said. "I've been doing it for four years now. I haven't gotten to all the exercises [in UNC's regimen], but I'm trying to work on that with Romar [Morris] some, so we can get as much of it done as possible."

Assisting Rankin with his time management is his weightlifting class.

Rankin, who played his senior football season at over 200 pounds, has dropped to 195 pounds on his 5-foot-11 frame.

"I'm trying to be past 205 before I get [to UNC]," Rankin said. "[The UNC coaches] basically told me when I get up there they'll put the weight on me, so just keep doing what I'm doing, right now."

What Rankin hasn't had time for, though, is reminiscing on a great senior sports season.

"I don't really have time to dwell on it, because right after graduation I'm going right up to Chapel Hill and we're getting down to business," Rankin said.

Rankin will graduate from Salisbury on June 11 and then head to UNC two days later.

Unsurprisingly, Rankin plans to room with Morris, who has been on Salisbury's track, basketball, and football teams with Rankin the past four years.

At least every other week, Rankin speaks with either Troy Douglas, UNC's defensive backs coach, or Everett Withers, UNC's defensive coordinator.

"They just want me to buckle down on my senior year and don't slack off, and when I get up there, I better be ready," Rankin said. "They really haven't talked about red-shirting. But I'll play either free safety or strong safety."

During his prep career, Rankin has played several different positions in Salisbury's 3-3 stack, which will prepare him for wherever UNC plans to use him.

"I've played where I've had to move up and back, like a linebacker back to safety," Rankin said. "And then I played free safety where I played back and had to make plays."

Rankin says he'll wear No. 27 at UNC.

"First they told me to pick, but there wasn't much left, because the [upperclassmen] get their numbers first," Rankin said.

Rankin, who says he's projected as a qualifier by the NCAA Clearinghouse, is considering majoring in psychology or sports medicine.

Darien Rankin Profile

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