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What's next for Nkemdiche?

What does Robert Nkemdiche’s de-commitment from Clemson mean to Ole Miss?

Robert Nkemdiche

It means that the likelihood of the Rebels landing the nation’s consensus No. 1 recruit appears to be imminent. Nkemdiche could quite possibly pledge his allegiance to Ole Miss within the next 72 hours.

The stage is certainly set for such events.

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and a few of his assistants will attend Nkemdiche’s high school game in Georgia on Friday night. That visit is not at all for an in-person evaluation…that is unnecessary for a talent such as Nkemdiche…but all about sending that potential scale-tipping message of “You are extremely important to us.” It’s about wrapping your arms around the best high school football player in the nation and telling him how important he is to the future of your program. Sure, that message has already been delivered many times over from Ole Miss to Nkemdiche, but Friday night it will be sent with an exclamation point.

Then, as if synchronized…and I believe it has been… Robert Nkemdiche, his mother and his father will depart Georgia for a weekend trip to Oxford, Miss., where Freeze will be coaching the Rebels against Vanderbilt on Saturday night. It’s also where the eldest of the Nkemdiche brothers, Denzel, will be playing linebacker for Ole Miss at a level that could earn him all-SEC honors by year’s end and perhaps even freshman all-American consideration.

Somewhere along the way this weekend, the hammer could drop and Ole Miss could land its biggest commitment since a highly-recruited
quarterback by the name of Eli Manning chose to play at his father’s alma mater some 13 years ago.

The drum beat of the de-commit from Clemson began as a dull thud back in the summer months and had risen to rolling thunder over the last few weeks. This morning it became deafening.

Beverly Nkemdiche, Robert’s mother, certainly let the world know her feelings on her son’s commitment to Clemson, expressing her dissatisfaction in an interview with ESPN last month. As any mother would, she wants her boys playing on the same team.

It’s a relatively easy call right now: Robert Nkemdiche is about to turn the world of college football recruiting upside down and commit to Ole Miss. Not many in the industry expected it to happen outside the few of us who cover Ole Miss. Kudos to my friend and 247Sports national analyst Keith Niebuhr, who was about the only national guy in the industry that saw it coming and that’s because he relentlessly did the leg work to stay on top of the story.

Georgia coach Mark Richt speaks with Ole Miss freshman linbacker Denzel Nkemdiche following last Saturday's game at Athens.

There’s something else this means for Ole Miss. It means Hugh Freeze and his coaching staff have sent a message that they are talented enough recruiters to net the biggest fish in the water. It underscores the idea that success…major success…is in the near future for the Ole Miss football program.

It’s major league momentum.

It also means that Ole Miss could be in the running for further shock work in the Class of 2013, if the stars continue to align.

Strange things happen all the time in college football recruiting and to many the idea of Robert Nkemdiche playing his college football at Ole Miss falls into that category. But I don’t think it’s strange at all. A mother wants her two sons on the same team, an older brother wants his little brother by his side and a little brother wants the same.

Everyone should have seen this coming.


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