Ole Miss' Robert Nkemdiche playing running back in the Egg Bowl

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

For those who never saw Christian Okoye, his current incarnation is playing against Mississippi State.

Ole Miss freshman defensive end Robert Nkemdiche moved to halfback in the first quarter of Thursday night's Egg Bowl game with Mississippi State. Facing a fourth-and-1 from deep in its own territory, Ole Miss opted to go for the first down and put the 290-pounder in the backfield. The true freshman, who was widely considered the nation's top recruit last fall, converted the first down by running for 18 yards through the middle of the Mississippi State defense.

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On the next play, Ole Miss opted to keep the freshman in the game. Nkemdiche went for 7 yards on a nearly identical play.

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He was tackled by fellow five-star freshman defensive end Chris Jones, a convergence of highly regarded talent that set off alarm bells throughout the recruiting community.

Nkemdiche has three carries so far for the most frightening 24 yards of any halfback this season.

This is not the first time this season that Ole Miss has used Nkemdiche as a ball carrier. In the Rebels' opener against Vanderbilt, Nkemdiche ran for 11 yards on a fake punt, again converting a fourth-and-inches.

The Egg Bowl remains scoreless after one quarter.

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