ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 19: Head coach Mark Richt of the Georgia Bulldogs waits for a call by the officials during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Sanford Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Robert Nkemdiche is the top football recruit in the country for the class of 2013. Out of Loganville (Ga.) Grayson High School, the 6'5, 270 pound Nkemdiche holds offers from almost every major football power in the country, including Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Clemson, Texas and USC. He is the consensus top recruit in the country, and a consensus five-star recruit.
Nkemdiche looks like a kid who will end up playing defensive tackle. And then you pop in the tape and see him move like a defensive end. In a nutshell, that's it. His power and speed combo make him the consensus top recruit in the country.
There's more than that, of course. Nkemdiche is very quick. He has good length, as one would expect given his 6'5 measurement. He has the frame to add even more good muscle once he enters a college weight program.
Nkemdiche is not the most polished defensive lineman recruit, but he's certainly not raw. He definitely has the chance to be a 350-snap player as a college freshman. His agility and body control is quite advanced for a recruit of his size and age.
Nkemdiche shows excellent skill as a penetrator, though he is also capable of taking on and controlling blockers, though he usually just physically dominates them and tosses them aside. Nkemdiche doesn't often play out of control, but he will have to make sure to avoid getting trapped in college. He does pursue from the backside with good effort.
Much of Nkemdiche's value and projection is yet to be determined and will depend on the college defense to which he commits. If he plays end in a 4-3, or even end in a 3-4 system that asks its ends to penetrate and not two-gap, he will project as an extremely valuable player who can disrupt an opponent's run game and also be an excellent pass rusher, perhaps playing some 3-technique in a 4-3 alignment on passing downs. Letting Nkemdiche operate in space will likely achieve the greatest return on his talent.
If he plays end in a 3-4 system that asks its ends to 2-gap, however, like Alabama, his projection is a bit tougher. While Nkemdiche has great strength, he hasn't been asked to two-gap much at the high school level, and many of the best players take a while to master this concept. Playing a 2-gap end in a 3-4 defense could limit Nkemdiche's freshman impact, though it likely would not hurt his eventual ceiling.