A couple of star defensive linemen have taken the opportunity to set the record straight about off the field events that led to suspensions from the bowl season. Robert Nkemdiche of Ole Miss and Adolphus Washington of Ohio State have each admitted their regret over circumstances leading to suspensions from their respective season-ending bowl games.
Nkemdich was suspended from the Sugar Bowl after he fell out of a hotel window in Atlanta earlier in December. Nkemdiche was charged with marijuana possession, although he released a statement contradicting a report suggesting he was under the influence of synthetic drugs at the time of the hotel incident.
“I was drunk,” Nkemdiche stated Friday at the NFL Combine when discussing the incident. “It was a rash decision. It was embarrassing,” he said of the entire sequence of events, per Pro Football Talk.
Washington also found himself looking back on his arrest for solicitation leading up to the Fiesta Bowl. Washington was suspended for the game against Notre Dame.
“I made a really dumb, impulsive decision and had to pay the penalty for it,” Washington said, according to The Columbus Dispatch. “To not end my college career the way I wanted to, that took a big toll on me… That was the first thing that ran through my mind — that maybe my career was over.”
Nkemdiche and Washington are each attempting to take their past transgressions head on in a move to convince NFL teams they have improved and learned from their mistakes. This is obviously a big topic of conversation around the NFL these days, but in the end it is likely talent will ultimately prevail as often as it typically has. Nkemdiche and Washington are right to address these stories the way they have, and by all accounts they appear to have handled the situation as well as they could at this stage.
One Nkemdiche brother has reportedly been hospitalized, but Ole Miss is not saying which brother was rushed for medical assistance Monday.
A report from WAPT in Mississippi says Ole Miss officials have not confirmed if Robert Nkemdiche or Denzel Nkemdiche has been hospitalized. At this time, Ole Miss has not responded to College Football Talk to confirm the reports or provide any further details.
Robert Nkemdiche was recently suspended by Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze following an incident in an Atlanta hotel. He now is reportedly focusing on training for the NFL Draft in 2016, where he should be a first-round pick for sure. Nkemdiche fell through a hotel window and was charged for marijuana possession. Denzel Nkemdiche was hospitalized last month for an undisclosed illness. Freeze said the medical issue was a personal matter at the time.
We will update this story as more information becomes available.
UPDATE (2:39 p.m. ET) – The Clarion-Ledger reports it was Denzel Nkemdiche that was hospitalized at University of Mississippi Medical Center after being found unresponsive by police responding to a medical aid call.
Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche won’t be joining his teammates in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma State. In fact, he may never suit up in an Ole Miss uniform again.
According to Ben Garrett of Ole Miss Spirit, Nkemdiche will not play in the Sugar Bowl, and the decision was not made by the player. That would strongly suggest head coach Hugh Freeze has decided to suspend his once prized defensive lineman recruit for the bowl game. This result is not at all a shock given the recent reports out of Atlanta with Nkemdiche falling through a hotel window and being charged for marijuana possession in Atlanta last week.
With Nkemdiche reportedly preparing for the NFL Draft, that would seem to suggest he is already focused on taking his game to the next level and declare for the 2016 NFL Draft, although nothing official has been announced. Should he end up turning pro, he will be among the top defensive linemen in the draft pool for any NFL franchise looking to add some bodies to the defensive line. Regardless of the incident in atlanta, Nkemdiche appeared to be a possible early draft entrant in 2016.
As noted in recent days by Pro Football Talk, Todd McShat of ESPN does not feel the Atlanta incident will have a dramatic impact on Nkemdiche’s draft stock.
“Assuming that he doesn’t have any issues between now and the draft and assuming that what has been reported is the story and assuming there’s not a major dependency issue, my guess is we’ll have close to have forgotten about it come draft time,” McShay said. “Again, there’s a lot of ‘ifs’ in there, and I’m not saying it’s not a big deal or not an issue at all. But I’m saying if he does everything right between now and then and if everything checks out and there’s not a bigger issue out there, I think the talent will prevail.”
Talent always finds a way.
The story unfolding around Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche‘s recent hotel incident revealed another twist today. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Nkemdiche has been charged for marijuana possession by Atlanta police.
According to information on a police report following Nkemdiche’s 15-foot fall at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta after crashing through a window, approximately seven rolled marijuana cigarettes were found in Nkemdiche’s hotel room.
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze released a brief statement on Sunday saying he and the school were still gathering information regarding this incident in Atlanta. As of now there has been no change to Nkemdiche’s status with the team as the Rebels prepare to take on Oklahoma State in the Peach Bowl this bowl season.
Nkemdiche had 29 tackles in 11 games this season, including seven for a loss and three sacks and seven quarterback hurries.
The push for the College Football Playoff is not the only thing heating up in November. Award season is started to come closer and closer. On Monday, the Maxwell Football Club released its list of semifinalists for two of the top individual awards in college football, the Maxwell Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award. Every Power 5 conference is represented on the Maxwell Award semifinalist list with 2 from the ACC, 4 from the Big 12, 2 from the Big Ten, 4 from the Pac-12 and 2 from the SEC. The SEC led the power conferences with seven players named to the Chuck Bednarik Award semifinalists with four.
Last year’s winner for the two Maxwell Football Club awards were Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (Maxwell Award) and Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright (Bednarik Award). A quarterback has won the Maxwell Award 13 times since 2000 and has included players like Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Tim Tebow, Cam Newton and Andrew Luck. Notre Dame running back C.J. Prosise gives the Irish a chance to move into sole possession of first place in the list of all-time winners by school. Notre Dame and Penn State each have seven Maxwell Award winners for the most of all-time. Navy, Ohio State and Texas each have four winners.
Penn State also has more Bednarik Award winners than any other school with four. LSU has a chance to come within one with linebacker Kendall Beckwith named a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award. Past winners of the Bednarik Award, first awarded in 1995, include Pat Fitzgerald, Charles Woodson, LaVar Arrington, Ndamukong Suh, Tyrann Mathieu, Manti Te’o and Aaron Donald.
The winners of the Maxwell Award and Bednarik Award will be announced on December 10, 2015 during ESPN’s college football awards show. Three finalists will be announced for each award prior to that on November 24. A formal presentation for the awards will be held during the Maxwell Football CLub’s annual awards gala in Atlantic City, New Jersey, currently scheduled for March 11, 2016 at the Tropicana Resort & Casino.
2015 Maxwell Award Semifinalists
- RB Devontae Booker, Utah
- QB Trevone Boykin, TCU
- WR Corey Coleman, Baylor
- QB Connor Cook, Michigan State
- RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State
- WR Josh Doctson, TCU
- QB Brandon Doughty, Western Kentucky
- RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
- RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
- RB Royce Freeman, Oregon
- RB Derrick Henry, Alabama
- QB Cody Kessler, USC
- QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis
- QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
- RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
- QB Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
- RB C.J. Prosise, Notre Dame
- QB Keenan Reynolds, Navy
- QB Greg Ward Jr., Houston
- QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson
2015 Chuck Bednarik Award Semifinalists
- LB Kendall Beckwith, LSU
- NT Andrew Billings, Baylor
- DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State
- DE Jonathan Bullard, Florida
- DE Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
- S Jeremy Cash, Duke
- LB Su’a Cravens, USC
- DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
- CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
- DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson
- CB Jourdan Lewis, Michigan
- LB Tyler Matakevich, Temple
- DE Carl Nassib, Penn State
- DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
- DE Emmanueal Ogbah, Oklahoma State
- LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
- CB Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
- DL A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
- LB Joe Schobert, Wisconsin
- LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame