UNC has secured five Charlotte-area verbal commitments from the 2014 class – Cayson Collins, Robert Dinkins, Elijah Hood, Austin Proehl, and Bentley Spain.
Moving on to the 2015 class, the Tar Heels are in great position with Ratliff, a 6-foot, 179-pound quarterback from Butler High School. He lists UNC as his early leader primarily because of its coaching staff.
"The coaches are great," Ratliff said. "Coach [Blake] Anderson and Coach [Gunter] Brewer are showing me as much love as possible. They actually show me that they're excited about recruiting me. They show a lot of interest in me."
Brewer, who recruits the Charlotte area for UNC, started up contact with Ratliff but communication has begun to shift more towards Anderson, the Tar Heels' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
"Coach Anderson and I are starting to become real close," Ratliff said. "He's the offensive coordinator and coaches my position, quarterback, so it's important to build a great relationship. We keep in touch and he makes sure my focus stays with him. I love talking to Coach Anderson – he's a great guy and great coach."
In addition to UNC, Ratliff's top five consists of Clemson, Florida State, Michigan, and Oregon.
"Those schools are winning," Ratliff said. "I love the fact that they've gone out and won games consistently year after year. And also with Carolina, they're trying to build up a new type of tradition – that also attracts my attention. Also with Clemson with their offense going fast-paced this year [and] Tajh Boyd is having an amazing season."
Of those five, Clemson and UNC have offered. He also holds offers from Georgia State, Mississippi State, and Toledo, and has seen increase attention from Indiana, Nebraska, Miami, Michigan, and Oregon.
A couple of weekends back, Ratliff visited Clemson for his first college game of the fall, the nationally televised matchup with Georgia.
"Great experience, great experience being in that type of atmosphere – top ten game, a lot at stake, national championship on the line," Ratliff said. "The Clemson crowd was amazing."
Outside of attending UNC's "Zero Dark Thursday" against Miami, Ratliff is unsure of any future game trips. However, he hopes to visit both Michigan and Oregon by the end of the season.
Ratliff's main focus is defending Butler's NCHSAA 4A crown in his first year as a fulltime starter at quarterback. After splitting the first two games, Ratliff came out on fire Friday night accounting for six total touchdowns (four passing and two rushing).
"We knew coming off that loss that we had to step up and show that Butler football still has a chance [and] we still have what we've always had, which is talent, desire to win, the ability to face adversity," Ratliff said. "And also we didn't want to let our fans down, so we had to come out here and play a great game because this is our last home game for a while."