Georgia’s No. 1 package deal? Robert and Denzel Nkemdiche (UPDATED)

Robert Nkemdiche

One noted recruiting analyst on Robert Nkemdiche: "His only weakness is that he's too good, too soon" (AJC Photo by Michael Carvell)

The final days of May are traditionally not filled with too much college football recruiting drama — unless you’re a celebrated 5-star signee sweating out the NCAA college entrance requirements.

But there is something very big going on in the eastern suburbs of Atlanta. Something possibly with far-reaching implications for the next couple of years.

The leading character in this story is Robert Nkemdiche, who seems to be like every other 16-year-old finishing up their sophomore year of high school. Well, except for being built like a Greek god at 6-foot-5 and 263 pounds, and a leading candidate to be USA’s No. 1-ranked overall prospect for 2013.

One noted recruiting analyst said of Robert: “His only weakness is that he’s too good, too soon.” You can read stories about the defensive end here and here.

May’s chapter of this best seller has to do with Robert’s brother, Grayson High School senior Denzel Nkemdiche, who appeared headed to junior college to continue his football-playing career. Denzel is described as a smart kid and a legitimate major-college prospect (although not with his brother’s ceiling of potential) who simply didn’t focus on his schoolwork until it was too late. Or so everybody thought.

This is where it gets really interesting: After a strong and focused senior year in the classroom, Denzel has rallied very close to meeting NCAA college entrance requirements, and should find out within the next few days. That’s significant because Denzel and Robert — in a perfect world — wish to play football together in college. Bottom line: If a college signs Denzel, it has inside position at landing the ultimate “package deal” with Robert, two years later.

Robert was the only Nkemdiche brother at Grayson on Wednesday evening, with Denzel rushed away for an official visit to Ole Miss. Who else is interested? Georgia, Auburn, Miami, Mississippi State, among others, have made inquiries about Denzel, according to Grayson football coach Mickey Conn. Most colleges are waiting on the test scores before moving forward with the 6-foot, 203-pounder, who is being recruited at linebacker, cornerback and safety. He signed with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (junior college) in February, leaving the option to go directly to a D1 school if he qualified later.

Conn offered some clarity on the academics: “Denzel still hasn’t qualified, as of yet. He has taken the SAT and the last time he really improved with his score, so much so that it got flagged. I mean, he studied hard and prepared for it and blew it out of the water. The NCAA made him take it again, and we should know his score by the end of this week … he’s going to pass it probably, more than likely. He’s a smart kid.”

The Nkemdiche brothers and their high school coach were asked about the “package deal.”

  • Conn: “With the colleges, everybody knows about Robert. Some of the colleges mention a ‘package deal’ and some of them don’t. Denzel is a good player in his own right. Ole Miss didn’t ask about Robert. They are interested in Denzel, which I was impressed with because they are taking Denzel for him and his ability … You know, I don’t know if it’s going to be a package deal-type thing. They are both good football players on their own. I think they both need to make the decision on what’s best for them and what gives them the best opportunity to play. I mean, I could see them going to the same school if the fit was right. But I would not advise them to go that way. My advice would be you need to research the school and make sure it’s where you want to be and it can fit you.”
  • Denzel via cell from Ole Miss: “We’re definitely going to do a ‘package deal’ because that’s what our mom wants us to do. Ole Miss hasn’t mentioned Robert to me. But wherever I sign, that’s where Robert is probably going to sign.”
  • Robert: “I’m thinking about it. Wherever my brother goes, I’m going to check it out. That school will have a big advantage because that’s my brother and we’re close.”

More on Denzel and colleges: He said he has a scholarship offer from Ole Miss, will meet with the coaches on Thursday morning, and will fly back to Atlanta by the afternoon. “I really like it here. I’m checking it out and seeing what happens. I’m just waiting to get back and talk to my brother and father about the situation.”  Denzel said he was recently offered by UGA assistant Bryan McClendon and is in the process of planning a visit. “[McClendon] said the offer is out there and when your test scores come in, it’s up to you to say ‘yes or no.’” Denzel said he was offered by Miami during a phone conversation on Sunday.

Q for Robert: Top schools? “I like Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Oregon and Florida.”

Back to Denzel: How good is he? “That kid can run; he’s a great football player,” Conn said. “A lot of people came though and liked him last year. He just didn’t have the academics at the time, so they passed on him. His highlights are unbelievable. That’s why he signed with Gulf Coast. They’ve produced a lot of good players as well, and put a lot into the NFL and, of course, colleges.” You be the judge after watching his video here.

What do the colleges say about Denzel? “They love his speed and explosiveness out of his hips,” Conn said. “He is very explosive, changes directions quickly, and is very physical with tackling. He could play anywhere from linebacker to cornerback.”

Story developing. Check back for updates.

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

Robert Nkemdiche (AJC photo by Michael Carvell)

Grayson HS 2013 DE Robert Nkemdiche with coach Mickey Conn (AJC photo by Michael Carvell)


Got an item? — Inappropriate BLOG comments will NOT be tolerated

Follow me on Twitter @RecruitingAJC

92 comments Add your comment

Dawg Realist

May 19th, 2011
6:36 am

I watched Denzel’s video and the kid can play! I like DN a lot better than that “ball boy” we signed from Carver high named Harrow who will be toting IC’s books around campus

UGA #47

May 19th, 2011
6:42 am

AWESOME VideO. Richt should meet the kid at Grayson this evening and close the deal. But I’m sure he has to go yap at some Touchdown Club meeting or make another Ford Truck commercial. Anything BUT recruiting, which is why every Georgia kid is leaving the state. Richt will blow this one, too. Probably already has.


May 19th, 2011
6:57 am

Robert is a freak of nature. Everybody in Gwinnett has heard of him. lol


May 19th, 2011
6:59 am

UGA#47…….if you think CMR neglects recruiting for other outside interests you are misinformed. Like most college coaches, he is relentless in his recruiting efforts. Georgia many times will come in late on an offer. That does not mean they are not recruiting that player. It usually means the staff has some minor questions about academices or how a player would fit the system. Georgia recruits better than most colleges and CMR is the reason why.


May 19th, 2011
7:05 am

Instead of Coach Kung Fu Panda taking reaches that couldn’t qualify at Tenn St. or Auburn, maybe he should roll the dice on these guys that have much more TALENT & upside.

GT is getting killed in its own backyard once again when it come to Recruiting, and the majority of it CANNOT be blamed on “academics”.

I guess Coach Punch-em-in-the-mouth would rather wait to see who Elon and Wofford are Recruiting before he makes any offers.


May 19th, 2011
7:32 am

Richt will blow this one too? Like what other time?

Bama Fan#2

May 19th, 2011
7:42 am

Kirby Smart where are you? RTR


May 19th, 2011
7:42 am

UGA has room for Denzel if he wishes to come, that is the bottom line in the story to me.

Walker, Texas Ranger

May 19th, 2011
8:00 am

Georgia will get in on the tail end of this process

Bring Back Wally Butts

May 19th, 2011
8:02 am

The kid looks like a ball player. Has a nose for the ball and plays fast. I am not sure of Georgia’s needs but seems like they could fit him in at either RB or Safety. The younger brother looks a little slower but that could just be the video and the fact that he is young. Looks like both have a lot of potential.


May 19th, 2011
8:08 am


You must be one of the misinformed. Besides Ole Miss, no one is pursuing him harder.


May 19th, 2011
8:08 am

Unless Denzel has serious game… I would NOT expect Saban to offer just to get Robert. The exact same thing happened with 5* S Kennan Allen two years ago. Allen was committed to Bama and then wanted Bama to offer his brother. Allen signed with Cal. We’ll see how it plays out … sad because I’ve heard all along Robert was a strong Bama lean.

Roll Tide


May 19th, 2011
8:08 am

Holy smokes! Denzel’s highlights are IMPRESSIVE. We should worry about Robert in 2 years and get Denzel on scholarship now if he qualifies.

Come to UGA Denzel! You look like a Junkyard Dawg to me.

Mtn Dawg

May 19th, 2011
8:09 am

That is a great video. We’ve got to have him. Reminds me of Thomas Davis and Greg Blue the way hits and drives through the ball carrier or blocker. Get your academics right and BE A DAWG!!!


May 19th, 2011
8:11 am

Great speed, great pursuit to the ball, solid tackler, and I like his swagger. Would be a great safety. We need this kid for HIS abilities. Go get’em Dawgs.

Mtn Dawg

May 19th, 2011
8:12 am

UGA#47….What the hell are you talking about? Did you keep up with who UGA signed this year? Recruiting is not the issue. It’s growing the kids, and I think we have the coaching staff now to do just that.

old time dog

May 19th, 2011
8:23 am

CMR does have trouble rerunning, look at the dream team. Problem is getting performance when they get on the team. We always have plenty of great players Problem is they play poorly for whatever reason or they get in trouble. Now tell me why this happens.

Hart Co.

May 19th, 2011
8:37 am

Has a nose for the ball, alot like Curran.

Georgia Grad

May 19th, 2011
8:37 am

47 – know the rules, they can be your friend and keep you from posting ignorant rants. Richt can’t “meet the kid at Grayson this evening and close the deal” because NCAA rules prohibit the head coach from making off campus visits to prospects in May. Furthermore an “official” visit must be arranged within the athletic department and with the NCAA. Coach Richt has been appearing across the state and the Southeast with “alumni and boosters” not TD Clubs. This is an annual happening by head coaches from many schools. Head coaches are not allowed to visit high schools during May by NCAA rules. Again, you ought to know the facts before you post but then again posters like you who are Georgia Bulldog haters are always looking to take cheap shots.

FYI – Georgia is on top of this situation and as soon as the new SAT comes in we shall see what transpires.


May 19th, 2011
8:38 am

Go Dawgs – need these kids – love Coach Richt!


May 19th, 2011
8:43 am

Hope Denzel’s grades and SAT qualifies him for UGA entrance. His own athletic abilities would be a welcome addition to the Georgia defensive secondary if he choses to play for the Dawgs, and would hopefully lead Robert to UGA in 2013. We could use you both!

Best wishes to you, Denzel, and Go Dawgs!

It Ain't Rocket Science

May 19th, 2011
8:44 am

Looks like this young man would make a good LB. Hope the DAWGS get him in. I would bet in the future, he will probably devote just a little more time to the books. Wouldn’t be a bad package deal with little brothyer riding in later either, LOL.


May 19th, 2011
8:49 am

Believe I will take him too. Put him into my farm system and beef him up a bit. He looks like someone who would like a national championship ring instead of losing to central florida in a bowl game.

Life is good. How is choakdawgs krispy kreme going in Athens?


May 19th, 2011
8:58 am

I dont think Richt will even be the coach when Robert is a freshmen but I do think he is desperate enough to offer Denzel to get his brothers just like he did this year to get Crowell. If it is a package deal, I doubt Saban would be willing to do it. Not worth it.

ATL Sports Fan

May 19th, 2011
9:10 am

UGA#47, head coaches can not go visit recruits off campus in May. You can only have two recruits at one time on campus during the month of May as well. Do some reserarch before spouting off.


May 19th, 2011
9:11 am

Got to see these guys at UGA! Go Coach Mclendon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Herschel Talker

May 19th, 2011
9:29 am

Mr. Magoo Richt can recruit this guy for our new head coach in 2012, Kirby Smart. Boys, it’s going to be another long season as long as Coach Doofus is still around. But the future is bright in 2012 and beyond.


Saint Simons

May 19th, 2011
9:31 am

(((((42-34))))) hahahahahahahaha

Athens Tider

May 19th, 2011
9:33 am

@blackoutanyone… Interesting you mention Kenan Allen. I just read a couple of days ago that that “throw in” quarterback that is Kenan Allen’s brother was just named California’s starting quarterback. I think California’s loving this deal.

H Walker is a lame talker

May 19th, 2011
9:34 am

Got that old crystal ball working again H Walker wanna be. That must mean at least one thing in your household has a job.

Mtn Dawg

May 19th, 2011
9:35 am

Saban… Your spelling suggests you atended Alabama or maybe Auburn. It’ll be the Dead Elephants this year ’cause LSU will roll in the west.


May 19th, 2011
9:36 am

From what i have heard its between UGA and Ole Miss and from the info i have heard Denzel will be a dawg especially with UGA so thin at RB he may play that position .

All systems go

May 19th, 2011
10:02 am

We did a package deal with Alec and Alex Ogletree, with Alec being the main go getter back in 09-10. However, not only did we a get a sure playmaker in Alec (safety converted ILB), but Alex is maturing and progressing VERY well as a FB in the pro-set and power-I. Denzel’s highlight film speaks for itself, pending his academic clearance; he’s a ball hawker, very good block shedding, great field vision, explodes through the tackle, reads the play well, good low/square tackle and wraps of the ball carrier (no diving at the knees like we see a lot now and days). And his brother Robert ; a potential beast, comparable to that of a young Julius Peppers. Let’s go get em GEORGIA!!!! GO DAWGS!!!!!


May 19th, 2011
10:03 am

With only 18 spots next year, and Richt has already said this week in Gainesville that 6 spots will go to OL, he’s got to be careful to sign positions of need. This kid looks great, But we are very limited. Next year there will be lot’s of elite players leave the state because of numbers. Who do ya’ll think we are, Bama?


May 19th, 2011
10:05 am

I have offered 64 kids in Georgia alone for next year. We work’em and cull’em

tater tot

May 19th, 2011
10:10 am

Well i just looked at the highlight films and he looks like a good one to get. Not only is he very good on defense but to see the way he breaks tackles as a RB on offense is a wonder in itself,


May 19th, 2011
10:13 am

@JB…I think we will start seeing some changes in the “oversigning issues, based on comments from SEC Comm Slive..Its amazing the excuses that are used on these blogs in supporting the oversigning….Finding a way around the max signings per year thru loopholes is unethical in my opinion…Everyone should play by the same rules and evidently some are not or the SEC would not be looking to change some of the rules…You see I didn’t point any fingers at anyone particular school here, I’m sure the ones that are clearly doing it know who they are….go dawgs


May 19th, 2011
10:44 am

Hope these kids go to Georgia, so I can pull for them.
They wrecked our season last year at Valdosta High, which
we had a pretty good football team. Can’t remember in
my forty years of watching high school football of two more
dominant defensive kids that controlled us.


May 19th, 2011
10:46 am

Saint Simons,
What’s this 42-34 stuff? Are you caught in the past? If so, consider this: UGA has beaten your school (institute) about 90% of the time over the past ten years. (The all time series favors UGA as well.) Try to live in the present for a change and post on the Tech blog, if they have one.


May 19th, 2011
11:23 am

This kid (Denzel) is one quick young man! I would really enjoy following his career in college. I hope he has his academics in order now, and plays at home with the Dawgs. He wears the “G” well so why not continue. The degree he would receive at Georgia will serve him very well in the future.

Wil Walton

May 19th, 2011
11:25 am

Hey JB, Denzel would be signing for this year, 2011, not 2012.

bitter uga fan

May 19th, 2011
11:29 am

i smell a young champ baily yaaaaaaaaaaw————great pics—–whatta hitttterrrrr my man

———————be a dawg————————young pup

Delbert D.

May 19th, 2011
11:32 am

Building castles in the air. The real football season can’t come soon enough.

bitter uga fan

May 19th, 2011
11:35 am

bring strom johnson————-new he too would come home———his-a dawg soon /
no longer dawg-(gone)—————get it dawg gone (miami) whatever trolls
——————-hahahahahahaqhahahahahahahahah—–im so funny

Real Problem

May 19th, 2011
11:37 am

I know this goes on, but I must admit I do not like it. If I am the older brother I think I would want my baby brother to make the best decision for himself.


May 19th, 2011
11:38 am

@ RRTDawgs

Finally got the video to play and you’re right, Ryan. As well as a sure tackler, Denzel could be a welcomed addition to our RB corps. Hope he gets his SAT score up and signes with UGA this year. We sure could use his talents. Go Dawgs!

bitter uga fan

May 19th, 2011
11:39 am

delbert d. –what hole you been hidden in????????????? ——go dawgs

Brown Dog

May 19th, 2011
11:52 am


May 19th, 2011
8:08 am

Unless Denzel has serious game… I would NOT expect Saban to offer just to get Robert. The exact same thing happened with 5* S Kennan Allen two years ago. Allen was committed to Bama and then wanted Bama to offer his brother. Allen signed with Cal. We’ll see how it plays out … sad because I’ve heard all along Robert was a strong Bama lean.

Roll Tide

Blackout, based on the quotes, the older brother is much more sold on the package deal than the younger one. This will be interesting to watch. DBs is a position of need for UA, and CNS did offer Dareus’ brother to close that deal.

Marcel was worth it. I suspect Robert will be in that category, too. But can big bro play? That’s the question.

Paul N Destin

May 19th, 2011
12:02 pm

UGA doesn’t oversign…they allow clarke country jail to cull those schollys they need to free . These are the facts. The president of UGA is a hypocrite along with the guy from UF. With the arrest record that both schools have you would think you would never hear a word from either. Put those two with Gee at OSU and you have Larry,Moe and Curly Joe.


May 19th, 2011
12:08 pm

Paul, I do believe your beloved Tide has more arrests than UGA in 2012.