Eastside's Sheldon Rankins, is one of the top defensive line prospects in the southeast and with more than 20 scholarship offers is being recruited like it. Thursday was the first day that college coaches can call high school senior prospects and the 3-star lineman received three.
"I got calls from North Carolina, Duke, and I just got off the phone with South Florida," said Rankins. "They just basically wanted to check up on me, see how school is going, make sure I know they want me, and those types of things."
The 6-foot-3, 255 pound prospect has accumulated around 21-22 offers from some of the top programs around, but is focusing on six programs right now.
"Right now my front running group is South Florida, Auburn, Nebraska, Mississippi State, Louisville, and the University of North Carolina," said Rankins. "They're in no particular order, and I don't have a number one. I was looking at how they recruited me, how I feel about the coaching staff, and after doing my research I liked what I saw from those programs."
The 3-star recruit who already visited Tampa twice, talks about what keeps South Florida among his top choices.
"I've developed a real great relationship with defensive line Coach Kevin Patrick, he's a real cool guy and I love the type of coach that he is," said Rankins. "They got something special going on down there in Tampa, they're an upcoming program that's on the rise and they're looking to tackle the Big East. I feel that I'd like to be a part of that.'
"I came down for their spring game and took another visit to USF this summer not too long ago," said Rankins. "I just loved everything about the place and the city. They got real nice facilities, with a beautiful new practice complex, and they're building a lot of new stuff for all the athletes."
Rankins plans on majoring in pre-med, and got to check out what USF has to offer in that regard.
"We checked out their medical program, the hospital and met with Dr. Leffers, the orthopedic surgeon there," said Rankins. "We talked for a little bit about what it entails and since I want to get into sports medicine that was real cool."
The Eastside prospect has taken visits to UNC, USF, and Louisville, and Now that the school year has begun Rankins has started to think about official visits.
"I'll be sitting down the next couple of weeks and plan my officials visits out," said Rankins. "I know for sure I'll be going to Nebraska and Auburn because I haven't been there, and I'm still thinking about the others. "
Rankins doesn't have a timetable for when he'll make a decision and plans to take his official visits before making a verbal commitment.
"I don't have a specific time when I'll decide," said Rankins. "I'm going to take my officials and make my decision when I feel right about it."
The coveted D-lineman may not know when he'll decide, but knows the main factors he's looking at to help him choose what college he'll play ball at.
"Education first of all, grades are important, so that's big for me. Secondly, I want a family atmosphere, and I want to feel comfortable and go to a place where my family could visit me and feel comfortable with me being there. Third is the playing time. I don't necessarily have to be given a starting spot, but I want the opportunity to show what I got and prove I can play there."
Rankins' senior football season kicked off last Friday when Eastside beat rival Covington Alcovy 38-15.
"We got a bug going around our school and I was under the weather, so I wasn't feeling great, but I played pretty well. I had around five tackles for a loss, and a blocked kick, so I did all right."