Saban made run at WSU signee

IT'S BEEN A long road for DE Brandon Rankin to Washington State, and there was one rather large, and final, twist and turn. Nick Saban, who is coaching Alabama in the national championship game tomorrow, and who apparently was unaware that his Letter of Intent to Washington State was still binding, offered Rankin a scholarship just a few weeks ago. "I talked to him for a good while," said Rankin.

Rankin (6-4, 265) said Saban was at West Brunswick High in Shallotte, N.C. recently for an in-school visit with Alfy Hill, one of Alabama's verbal commits. Rankin, who has been working out at New Brunswick this past fall and winter while he finished up his junior college academic requirements, ended up talking to Saban and the Alabama head coach had a surprise for him -- he was offering him a scholarship to 'Bama.

"I was going by high school coach's office and Saban was by to see (Hill)," said Rankin. "Coach Saban just asked me how I was doing and then, yes, he offered me. I told him I'm about to be a Coug -- I've got Washington State and I'm trying to head over there.

"He saw my highlight tape on youtube, I guess he just wanted to see me in person and then saw that I was out here. I talked to him for a good while, there in my high school coach's office."

So what was Rankin's reaction to Alabama's offer?

"We talked about it, me and my mom, a couple of my high school coaches. And I just felt Washington State was the place for me," said Rankin.

RANKIN, NAMED JC ALL-AMERICA at Butte College in 2008, racked up 24 sacks among his 62 tackles his sophomore season. In addition to CCCFCA JC All-America, he was named the Region I Defensive Player of the Year and All-California first team.

A large number of suitors came his way during the 2008 -09 recruiting cycle but when it became apparent he was unlikely to qualify in time for the 2009 NCAA season, a number of schools put him on the back burner. Washington State was not one of them.

Indeed, the Cougs continued to strongly recruit him, won the battle to sign him and then stayed in very close contact throughout the past year, monitoring his academic progress and providing encouragement, with Jody Sears running the point.

All those hours and efforts put forth by the WSU staff begin to come to fruition this weekend when Rankin arrives on campus.

"I'm flying out Thursday morning, I'll get there at Washington State on Saturday," said Rankin. "I'm first going to Portland first to get my stuff from Butte that I have with a friend. "

RANKIN SAID he's been working out plenty on his own, though he said there's no substitute for being in a program with a group dynamic and working out with teammates.

"I've just been trying to get my body ready for WSU spring ball," said Rankin. "I have plenty of time still to get ready for that but I've just been working out, running and keeping up with my workouts.

"I am excited, I'm ready to go. I talked to coach Sears on Monday night and he is excited, too. I am so ready to go. I'll be there on Saturday."

Brandon Rankin profile

Along with Rankin, also expected to arrive in January at Washington State, and thus be able to take part in the 15-practice spring session, are DT Quayshawne Buckley, OL Wade Jacobson and OL David Gonzales.

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