Robert Nkemdiche, the nation’s No. 1 high-school football recruit, said it was his decision, not his mother’s, to take back his commitment to attend Clemson next year and re0pen recruiting.
“Decommitting was not a family thing; it was my decision,” said Nkemdiche, a 6-foot-5, 265-pound defensive end from Grayson High in suburban Atlanta. “My parents did not even know. It was just different things about how I was feeling. I felt like decommitting gave me a chance to back up and really pay attention to other schools without people saying I am cheating on Clemson.”
The call was made to the Tigers’ coaching staff Sunday, with Nkemdiche leaving the door open for a possible recommitment. Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi are believed to be the only other teams still seriously under consideration, but all signs point toward Ole Miss as the top team now on his list.
“Clemson was surprised, but there was not much they could do,” Nkemdiche said. “They just said to keep them in my mind. Of course, I am still considering them.”
After playing in front of Ole Miss coaches Wesley McGriff and Chris Kiffin on Friday night, Nkemdiche and his parents headed to Oxford, Miss., to watch Ole Miss host Vanderbilt on Saturday night. Nkemdiche’s brother, Denzel, is a freshman linebacker for the Rebels. Beverly Nkemdiche said in the past that she wants her sons to attend the same college, and there is speculation a commitment could come as soon as this weekend.
Robert Nkemdiche said that’s not likely.
“As for this weekend, we are going to see my brother and just chill as a family,” Nkemdiche said. “I am probably not going to make that decision any time soon. I am not sure I will take all five officials. My decision will most likely come sometime in January or whenever I feel I am ready. I just have to sit back, pray and see how I feel.”
Nkemdiche reiterated that his mother will not have the final say in his recruitment. Beverly Nkemdiche is set to return next week to Nigeria, where she works as a legislator in her native state. She’ll be back with Robert to watch him play in the Under Armour All-America Game in less than two months.
“This decision will be mostly about me,” Robert Nkemdiche said. “People think it is my family and my mom doing everything, but I am still making most of my decisions. I made the decision to decommit on my own, and my commitment will be the same.”
After a hectic week, Nkemdiche was able to help his team to a 41-13 win over regional rival Brookwood on Friday night. Nkemdiche said he’s doing his best to put recruiting on the back burner as he leads the Rams into the playoffs.
“I just have to keep my mind straight and ignore everything,” Nkemdiche said. “People thought it would wear on me with the news coming out, but I was all right. I have a different mindset right now. I am not worried about any colleges right now. I am just worried about Grayson football.”