Orlando East River LB Ryne Rankin commits to play for Georgia

Orlando East River LB Ryne Rankin announced Friday that he will officially become a Georgia Bulldog next Feb. 6, National Signing Day.

Rankin picked the Bulldogs over Penn State and Cincinnati, his next two choices in line of the 18 offers he has accumulated.

"It just felt like the best fit for me when I was up there," Rankin said. "Athens is a nice town, Georgia has good academics, obviously and the linebacker coach (Kirk Olivadotti) was great when I visited and it just felt right. ... playing between the hedges, all that stuff. Not much more I can say, I'm just excited."

The 6-foot-1, 225-pound Rankin, whose known for his hellbent demeanor on the football field, said the recruiting process was sometimes a bit overwhelming.

"It gets frustrating," he said. "You've got a lot of good schools coming to contact you, offer you and you just gotta sit down and weed out the schools and pick through them. I had 18 schools to go through. You just have to buckle down."

Rankin, who averaged 18 tackles per game and had seven sacks as a junior, is coached at East River by his father Marc Rankin, a former Winter Park High School and Cincinnati University linebacker himself. Having his dad as coach was an added advantage for the young Rankin in the recruiting process.

"Oh yeah, it was a big help," said Ryne, whose grandfather John Rankin played football and North Texas State and is the East River offensive coordinator. "Coaches could call him and contact him. He's been through it and played college football. He knows a lot of the coaches out there and the business of college football. If they needed to contact me, they could just call dad."

Rankin said UGA coaches told him they were going to take just two linebackers in the 2013 recruiting class, and once Anderson, S.C., LB Ben Boulware chose Clemson, it freed up a spot for Rankin. UGA's other linebacker commitment is Johnny O'Neal (6-2, 225) of Dublin (Ga.) West Laurens.

Georgia now has 11 commitments to the 2013 class, including fellow Floridian RB Derrick Henry of Yulee, the No. 1 running back in the state in the Sentinel's Florida Top 100.

Also on Friday, Ky Priester, who was one of the top WR in the 2013 class in Central Florida before moving to Georgia earlier this year, committed to Georgia. Priester was at Lake Mary last season.

Rankin is ranked as the No. 10 overall player in the Sentinel's Central Florida Super60 and No. 56 in the Florida Top 100.

Rankin, who will graduate early and enroll at UGA for the spring semester, will be in attendance with his parents next weekend for the Bulldogs spring game. Athens is 7-8 hours driving time from Orlando.

"They’re excited. They wanted me to go where I felt it was best for me," Rankin said of mom and dad. "They said, 'if you wanna go to Athens, we’ll wear red and black to all your games.' They are very supportive."


Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at chays@tribune.com. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting.

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