Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Persistent Salisbury safety Rankin picks Heels

The first time Salisbury High's Darien Rankin participated in a one-day camp at North Carolina, he came away without a scholarship offer.

So when Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan was making a trip to Chapel Hill for another one-day camp with running back Romar Morris, Rankin asked to ride along. When he arrived, he was asked if he wanted to participate again.

He paid the camp entry fee, worked out and was offered a scholarship, and he's now committed to the Tar Heels.

"One day wasn't enough for him," Pinyan said. "He wanted to go up there and show them the type of kid that he is."

Rankin is a 5-foot-11, 180-pound player who projects as a safety for North Carolina. He also had a scholarship offer from Utah and had interest in East Carolina and South Carolina, before deciding to play for the Tar Heels.

Pinyan said Rankin has excellent athletic ability, as illustrated by his 6-foot, 8-inch high jump, but still needs to work on his footwork and other safety-specific skills after playing a position that's a combination of safety, outside linebacker and defensive end for Salisbury.

"While he might not be the four-star quarterback like [Marquise Williams] or a top lineman [Landon Turner] that they've gotten out of Virginia, he's that piece that completes the whole puzzle," Pinyan said. "Maybe he doesn't have that glamourous 40 time, but he's a guy, when the lights come on, he plays."

Ken Tysiac

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