After months of speculation and rumors, top-ranked recruit Robert Nkemdiche has de-committed from Clemson, according to his high school coach. The Grayson (Ga.) High School senior has now said he’ll be making his final decision on signing day. Alabama, Georgia and Ole Missappear to be the new frontrunners for his services.
The biggest issue here, as so expertly laid out by SB Nation’s Shakin’ the Southland earlier, is Nkemdiche’s mother’s misunderstanding of the process, and ultimately it’s the straw that broke the camel’s back by most accounts. Her displeasure with his commitment to Clemson has been well-documented and is believe to be the main driver here. Nkemdiche’s brother, Denzel Nkemdiche, currently plays linebacker for Ole Miss, which is how they’ve become a favorite of their mother, who resides in Nigeria.
As for the issues here, it’s best to let Shakin’ the Southland tell it. More than anything, it’s a misunderstanding of the rules on the part of Nkemdiche’s mother, who believes Mississippi is more interested:
“Why hasn’t Nkemdiche’s mom been contacted, you ask? Because she has been–by phone, by email, by Facebook, by hand written letter. Placing a call to the staff (or even me) would get you that information. The question should be when was she contacted and there are conflicting opinions, reports on this. Nkemdiche’s mom says she wasn’t told about the commitment (or she wasn’t allowed to sanction the commitment) when Robert made the decision. Obviously living in Nigeria made that difficult for the staff. More importantly though, Ole Miss gets to communicate freely because they have a brother at the school. As a parent not knowing the rules and intricacies of NCAA regulations on recruiting, it is very understandable to feel that Ole Miss is showing you a lot of love and Clemson is not. Clemson’s hands are tied and the staff can only make contact during certain time periods.”
Obviously, this isn’t just a big blow to Clemson, but the ACC as a whole. Grabbing the top recruit was a win for the league, and if Nkemdiche goes to Mississippi, it’ll solidify the perception that playing for any SEC team is better than a top team in any other other conference. It’s a bad sign of things to come. Hopefully the worst-case scenario doesn’t come to pass, however.