Robert Nkemdiche

Consensus No. 1 2013 recruit commits to Clemson


As one of the nation’s top running backs in the Class of 2013 proved Wednesday, a verbal commitment literally means nothing until pen is put to LOI paper in February.

That said, Clemson just landed a huge verbal “nothing”.

As first reported by TigersIllustrated.comand later confirmed by multiple recruiting websites, five-star defensive end Robert Nkemdiche gave his nonbinding verbal commitment Thursday to Dabo Swinney‘s Tigers (So much for the Big 12 talk impacting their efforts on the recruiting trail, eh?).  Two of Nkemdiche’s high school teammates have already committed to the Tigers, but the move is nonetheless surprising in both its timing and the school selected.

Back in early May, and roughly 10 days before a scheduled announcement was set to take place, the Loganville (Ga.) senior-to-be bid an about-face by stating that he would be delaying his decision so he could focus on his final season of high school ball.

“I’m probably going to try to take all my official visits, and then pick the best school,” Nkemdiche said over a month ago. “I probably won’t take any visits during the season because I want to stay focused on my main goal — and that’s helping our team win another state championship. I’ll probably wait until after the season and then go visit schools and stuff.”

At the time of that announcement, Clemson wasn’t even considered one of the front-runners.  That honor fell to Alabama and Ole Miss — his brother, redshirt freshman defensive back Denzel Nkemdiche, plays for the Rebels — with Clemson, Georgia and LSU perceived to be perhaps a step below those two SEC programs on the 6-5, 250-pounder’s collegiate to-do list.… and… and all have Nkemdiche as the top-rated prospect in the Class of 2013.

The only problem for Swinney and his coaching staff in landing the consensus No. 1-rated player in the nation?  They have to hold on to Nkemdiche’s verbal for nearly eight months by fending off the likes of, among others, Nick Saban.

Good luck with that, Dabo.

(Photo credit: Loganville Grayson (Ga.) High School)

No punishment from SEC for Bielema’s sideline interaction with Alabama player

Bret Bielema

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema will not be disciplined by the SEC office for his brief interaction with Alabama offensive lineman Cam Robinson last weekend. A video showing Bielema exaggerating his interaction with Robinson at the end of a play was reviewed by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, and the commissioner has discussed the situation with the Razorbacks coach.

“I visited with Bret over the phone on Monday and we discussed the play that has now become widely reviewed through a brief video clip,” Sankey said in a released statement. “Football is played in an intense competitive environment and I reminded him of the need for head coaches to resolve with their own players issues that may arise, which was his intent. The unsportsmanlike penalty assessed on the play was not directly associated with Bret’s efforts to intervene at the end of the play and we are moving forward in a positive manner.”

That appears to be the end of the discussion regarding Bielema’s act. I personally think there should have been some more done here by the league’s commissioner, but we will see if Bielema avoids putting himself in a similar position moving forward.

Temple announces rare football sellout

Jahad Thomas, Marcus Allen

In the midst of what could be a dream season in South Philadelphia, the Temple Owls announced a rare sellout for a football game this afternoon. The October 31 game at home against Notre Dame has sold out Lincoln Financial Field. This is the first time Temple has sold out two home games in the same season since 1976, when the Owls began playing home games in one of Philadelphia’s pro sports stadiums.

This is the second sellout of the season for Temple, but it is also worth mentioning who the opponents are for those two games; Penn State and Notre Dame. Penn State is always Temple’s biggest draw when they get a chance to host the Nittany Lions and their legions of fans in and around the Delaware Valley. Temple dominated Penn State in the season opener, snapping a long losing streak against the in-state power. Notre Dame is also a big draw everywhere the Irish go, and there is a solid fanbase in the southeastern part of Philadelphia as well.

It is also a rare trip to Philadelphia for Notre Dame. The Irish last played in Philadelphia in 1993 when they faced Navy in Veterans Stadium. Navy also hosted Notre Dame in Philadelphia in 1960, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1972 and 1974. Notre Dame and Temple have never played in Philadelphia, although they did face each other in the 2013 season opener. This year’s game is the second game of a home-and-home series.

The game could potentially prove to play a key role in the evolving College Football Playoff and Group of Five conversation as well. If Temple avoids slipping up this week against UCF and next week at East Carolina and USC holds off USC, then we could have an undefeated and top 25 Temple program hosting a top 15 or even potential top 10 Notre Dame on Halloween. Let’s not put the cart ahead of the horse here, but that could be a very attractive matchup worth paying attention to at the end of the month for many fanbases.