In June of this year, Robert Nkemdiche, the consensus No. 1 recruit on the Class of 2013, surprised some by verbally committing to Clemson over the likes of Alabama and Ole Miss.
That decision didn’t sit well with the defensive lineman’s mother, who told ESPN the Magazine in September that the verbal “is not final” and that she’s “unhappy with Clemson” being her son’s current school of choice. Instead, Beverly Nkemdiche favored Ole Miss, where another of her sons, Denzel, is a standout member of the Rebels football team.
Nearly two months later, mom is still leery of Clemson… still likes Ole Miss because of the sibling connection… and really, really, really likes the defending BcS champions.
In an expansive interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mrs. Nkemdiche, who is a government official in Nigeria, further fine-tuned her stance on the three main contenders vying for her son’s immense football talents:
On Ole Miss…
“Every parent would really want [their kids to play together in college]. It’s my wish for it to happen, but I’m not going to put pressure on anybody. If it happens, great. If it doesn’t, OK. But I would really love for them to play together.”
“If they play together, it would make more sense. The twins that play for UGA, they play together and they [complement] one another. It’s the Ogletree twins, and they play together for UGA. I watched them this past week (against Florida) for the first time, and I kind of liked that. I want to see my boys play together like that, also. There’s nothing so wrong in a mother wanting both boys to play together.”
“I’ve not talked to anybody from Clemson’s team. I don’t want to go there because that’s out of my way. There is nothing that would take me there.”
“But like I said, Clemson is out of the way for me. There is nothing that would take me there. It’s not like it’s a bad school or whatever.”
“My No. 1 team is Alabama. That’s one school I truly love, Alabama. But I don’t have [a] child in Alabama to take me to Alabama.”
“Alabama has a good football team. And they’re solid. They have good academics. Right now, they are undefeated. And I’ve stayed in stayed in touch with their coach on Facebook. He is a good person. I like the school but again, I would prefer for Denzel and Robert to play together.”
One of the biggest takeaways from the interview is that while she remains leery of the recruiting process as it relates to Clemson — “I would think that he was probably pressured to do it, to commit” — Nkemdiche’s mother would speak to Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney if he were to reach out via the telephone, although, again, a campus visit isn’t in the cards as she doesn’t “want to travel around just to go see a school.”
Mrs. Nkemdiche continued to stress she’s “not putting pressure on” her son to play at a particular school, that “it’s our understanding that Robert can go to any school that he wants to go to.”
As long as it’s Ole Miss or Alabama and not Clemson, it seems.
With National Signing Day a little over three months away, it remains to be seen whether Swinney and his coaching staff can maintain Nkemdiche’s verbal commitment — especially if they can’t flip the mom’s current stance.