Commentary

Nkemdiche has UGA in top six

Growing DE/RB is learning to adjust to autograph-seeking fans, pressure to commit

Updated: December 5, 2011, 10:46 AM ET
By Kipp Adams | DawgNation
ATHENS, Ga. -- A little more than two years ago, Robert Nkemdiche (Loganville, Ga./Grayson) was just hoping to earn a chance to start for the Rams. A 6-foot-5, 240-pound freshman, the defensive end would enjoy a breakout sophomore season, racking up 18 sacks while leading his team to the semifinals before losing to Colquitt County 24-31. Emerging as one of the top prospects -- if not the top prospect -- in Georgia and perhaps the entire country for 2013, Nkemdiche, now at 6-5, and 265 pounds, has earned offers from programs throughout the Southeast, as well as a target on his back.

All the impressive junior has done this year is rack up another 17 sacks and run for 16 touchdowns while playing running back for head coach Mickey Conn. Nkemdiche's in-game production has seen little drop-off against constant double- and triple-teams, which Nkemdiche attributes to the work during the offseason with his teammates.

"I knew with all of the attention it would be different, but I was not going to just sit back and say I cannot be that same guy I was last year," Nkemdiche said. "I can still be that guy; so I worked hard all summer and I came out and did my thing. Having God in my life, along with my teammates and coaches, helped me to have success on the field, and I am trying to help our team win games, not just try to be the best player in the nation." Nkemdiche has noticed a change in his postgame routine -- such as fans asking for an autograph -- but at this point he feels it is part of the process.

Kipp Adams | email

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