- Kipp Adams, Reporter, RecruitingNation
LOGANVILLE, Ga. -- Robert Nkemdiche, the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit in the ESPN 150, kicked off national signing day on Wednesday by announcing his intention to sign with Ole Miss on ESPNU. The Loganville (Ga.) Grayson defensive end chose the Rebels over LSU and Florida.
Nkemdiche marks a signature addition to what is shaping up to be one of the top recruiting classes in the country. He had offers from coast to coast and took official visits to Florida, Ole Miss and LSU before deciding to join his brother Denzel Nkemdiche in Oxford, Miss.
The rumors of Ole Miss landing the five-star prospect began almost two years ago, when the Rebels signed Denzel Nkemdiche in May 2011 after the lightly recruited 5-foot-11, 200-pound defensive back was able to qualify a few months after signing day. At the time, it was believed that Alabama had the best chance to land the younger, more highly regarded Robert Nkemdiche, with Ole Miss considered only a dark-horse possibility due to his brother's enrollment at the school.
Nkemdiche, who originally committed to Clemson in June, watched Ole Miss play Georgia in Athens, Ga., on Nov. 3 and reportedly called Clemson to decommit a day later.
With the family ties pulling Nkemdiche to Oxford, Ole Miss became the consensus leader to land the nation’s top recruit at any moment. But even with recruiter of record Wesley McGriff and defensive line coach Chris Kiffin taking in Grayson games seemingly every week during the fall evaluation period, no such commitment to Ole Miss came, as Nkemdiche decided to focus on his senior season.
As Clemson fell from contention, programs such as LSU and Florida threw their names into the mix. Nkemdiche took official visits to Florida on Jan. 18, Ole Miss on Jan. 25 and LSU on Feb. 2, giving all three trips high marks.
But once it came time to make a decision, it all came back to family, and Ole Miss won out for Nkemdiche.
His addition gives the Rebels 24 commitments for the 2013 class and their first from a five-star recruit. Ole Miss, which has a commitment from the nation’s No. 1 receiver in Laquon Treadwell, is also heavily favored to land No. 1 offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, Fla./Columbia) and has a chance to add ESPN 150 defensive end Chris Jones, ESPN 150 safety Antonio Conner, ESPN 150 offensive lineman Austin Golson and Nkemdiche’s teammate David Kamara.
What is the impact of Robert Nkemdiche’s decision?
2dSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
3dTom VanHaaren and Erik McKinney