Strongside defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, widely considered the nation's top high school football prospect, has officially committed to Ole Miss. Nkemdiche chose the Rebels over LSU and Florida, though he held 15 scholarship offers and the eye of every program in the country.
Nkemdiche hails from Grayson High School in Loganville, Georgia. He initially committed to Clemson in June, but backed out of that verbal commitment in November, a month after SB Nation reported Ole Miss as a very likely candidate. Since he reopened his recruitment, Ole Miss has been seen as the odds-on favorite to get his signature. His older brother, Denzel Nkemdiche, plays linebacker for the Rebels, and earned FWAA Freshman All-American Team accolades last season. Robert Nkemdiche took official visits to Florida and Mississippi. When he canceled a scheduled visit to LSU at the last minute, the writing appeared to be on the wall, though he surprisingly ended up spending last weekend in Baton Roue. For the complete story on how the nation's top recruit ended up in Oxford, read this week's Nkemdiche report by SB Nation's Steven Godfrey:
Yet on each of Manziel's explosive plays in the fourth quarter, the quarterback broke contain first from the defensive end, something that was not lost on the younger Nkedmiche, who watched his brother and teammates unravel in devastation.
"It was hard. It was awful. And I think he really saw his brother's pain that night," a former Rebel player said. "I think things changed because he saw Denzel hurting so bad and knew that he could have made a difference out there."
In a business based on speculation and subject to a wide variety of opinion, there is remarkable consensus on Nkemdiche. He is ranked as the nation's top player by Rivals, Scout, 24/7, and ESPN. He has a reported 4.7 40 yard dash time and is lauded for his quickness and agility. If there is a knock on Nkemdiche, it is on his technique. The raw talent is there to be harnessed, though.
Nkemdiche joins a recruiting class at Ole Miss that includes perhaps the best group of freshman the Rebels have ever mustered, with more potentially set to follow in Nkemdiche's path, including top offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, elite safety Antonio Conner and perhaps a surprise or two.
Ratings: Nkemdiche is a universal five-star recruit, one of only a few to ever earn that distinction.
Vitals: He measures 6'5, 265 pounds, ideal for a defensive end; to play on the strongside in the SEC, he might need 5-10 more pounds.
Other offers: Ole Miss, LSU, and Georgia were the final contenders for Nkemdiche's services, but he held offers from Alabama, USC, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Oregon, and virtually every other major program. He originally committed to Clemson, but withdrew that commitment in November.
Twitter: Nkemdiche deleted his Twitter account in September, but came back as @Aceboogie_001 in January.
Recruitment timeline: The full Robert Nkemdiche story is available in the SB Nation storystream.
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