- Kipp Adams, Reporter, RecruitingNation
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Defensive end Robert Nkemdiche (Loganville, Ga./Grayson) arrived at registration for the Under Armour All-America Game today with the bulls-eye on his back. Nkemdiche says he is ready to defend his spot as the No. 1 prospect in the 2013 class.
“I am not really worried about anyone taking my ranking because I just have to play my game, work hard, and let my motor take over,” Nkemdiche said.
While January is less than 48 hours away, Nkemdiche has yet to set any official visits. But he did say two programs are standing out.
“Ole Miss and LSU would be my top two right now,” Nkemdiche said. “I would not say Ole Miss is on top, but they are up there really high.”
For the one-time Clemson commit, LSU has emerged as the prominent Tigers in the race. The 6-foot-5, 270-pound defensive lineman admits LSU has actually been on his mind longer than Clemson.
“I was pretty high on LSU because I liked them a lot way before I liked Clemson, so they have always been in the mix,” Nkemdiche said.
Nkemdiche also responded to an early December report by the New Orleans Times-Picayune that he actually made a silent commitment to LSU before committing to Clemson.
“I was really high on LSU but I did not make a silent commitment,” Nkemdiche said. “I just told them I was really interested and that I might be committing to them but I am not really sure yet. It was nothing serious.”
His feelings on Les Miles and his program have not changed.
“LSU is still up there, I will be honest with you,” Nkemdiche said. “I love LSU and they are a great school.”
The Rebels are considered by many to be the front-runners to land Nkemdiche, based on his older brother Denzel Nkemdiche being a standout linebacker in Oxford, Miss. Nkemdiche did not deny that was a major advantage for Ole Miss.
“Ole Miss stands up high for me because it is a family thing,” Nkemdiche said. “Everybody likes Ole Miss, and if I went there it would be a family thing and I love my family.”
The Crimson Tide are trying to make a late push, and the nation's top prospect likes the prestige that surrounds Tuscaloosa, Ala.
“Alabama stands high because they are a great team playing for a national championship,” Nkemdiche said. “If I went there I would be a great player being coached by Nick Saban.”
Nkemdiche maintains that Clemson and Florida are still in it as well, which could come down to the wire.
“I plan to make my commitment in early February, either right before or on signing day,” Nkemdiche said.
4dTom VanHaaren and Erik McKinney