When Ryne Rankin moved to Athens with the rest of Georgia's early enrollees he brought a long a few extra friends.
An avid hunter and outdoorsman, the freshman linebacker saw no problem with decorating his bedroom at his dorm with a few treasured accoutrements from home.
"Oh yeah, I got a hog head, about four deer antlers (mounts), a big bass and a 8-9 foot gator," smiled Rankin, adding that its actually just the head of an alligator he shot during a recent hunt.
Good friend and fellow freshman linebacker Reggie Carter has seen the menagerie.
"Yeah, I've seen it," Carter laughed of Rankins' collection. "I asked him the other day how he sleeps in there, because if I saw that every night, I'd sleep somewhere else. He's a wild guy."
Roommates Josh Cardiello, Aulden Bynum and Brice Ramsey are apparently learning that as well.
"Aulden's been hunting, but Josh and Brice are little city boys," Rankin smiled. "They say they want to go, but we'll see."
While some may see Rankin as a character off the field, on the field, the 6-foot-1, 231-pounder comes to Athens with the reputation of hunting down ball carries with amazing success.
His junior year at East River (Fla.), Rankin made 189 tackles before "falling off" to a 176 last year.
"As a linebacker you've got to fly around to the ball," Rankin said. "If I wasn't in the camera angle, my dad got a little mad."
Considering Rankin comes from a football family, it's easy to see why his pop feels that way.
Marc Rankin lettered at Cincinnati, where he too played linebacker and still serves as the head coach at East River High on the eastside of Orlando, Fla., while his grandfather played at North Texas State and according to a proud Ryne, was a teammate of NFL Hall of Famer "Mean" Joe Greene.
"When I was a baby, I had a football in my crib, so I've had football knowledge for a while," Rankin said. "My dad and granddad always taught me the little things and told me the little things will get you noticed, little steps like knowing how to read keys. That's the kind of thing which has helped me a lot."
Rankin, who was able to get in some work with the Bulldogs during bowl practice in Athens, can't wait for spring practice to begin after choosing the Bulldogs over 18 other schools who offered him a scholarship, including Penn State, Pittsburgh, Texas A&M and Ole Miss, among others.
When practice begins on March 2, Rankin said he'll start out at Mike linebacker, the position held down last fall by Christian Robinson and Mike Gilliard.
He relishes the opportunity.
"That's the reason I came to Georgia," Rankin said. "I scoped out the depth chart, the opportunities I'd have here to come in and play early, to be an early enrollee, me and my boy Reggie Carter. It's all about competing."
That first day of practice with the Bulldogs is something he'll never forget.
"I was a little nervous. I'm walking out there and I've got a red helmet on, I've got a little 'G' on my pants so I was a little star-struck, I guess," Rankin said. "I'm lining right next to Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree
that was a pretty good feeling. It was exciting."
The three soon-to-be former Bulldogs offered Rankin some advice before heading off to seek their fortune in the NFL.
"Jarvis, Ogletree and Rambo, they talked to me and told me they expected me to work hard every day, academically and on the field," he said. "That first day of practice, they told me not to back down from anybody."
According to Carter, Rankin did just that.
"I was texting him all the time while he was practicing, asking how he was and if he got to hit Todd Gurley yet," Carter said. "He told me he got in a fight the first day. I just him to 'represent the 13 (Class of 2013).'"
It seems he's already off to a good start.