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.
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.”
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.
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