Robert Nkemdiche: Just trying to help a teammate

Robert Nkemdiche is a lot of things, including most notably the nation’s’ No. 1 college football prospect.

He’s also a 17-year-old kid who has done an enormous job of handling the pressures of being in recruiting’s biggest spotlight.

Nkemdiche created a stir (some positive, mostly negative) when he told the AJC it was a “done deal” with his commitment to Clemson if the Tigers offered one of his high school teammates, safety Ryan Carter, a  D1 prospect with football scholarship offers from Ole Miss and Southern Miss, among others.

Clemson-bound DE Robert Nkemdiche (AJC)

Clemson-bound DE Robert Nkemdiche (AJC)

Nkemdiche has never made it a secret that he wanted to play with his two best friends, DB David Kamara (who is committed to Clemson) and Ryan Carter. They’ve all been best friends since middle school, and had a lot of success together on the football field. They’re like brothers. They’re like family.

In our past conversations, Robert has often talked about how blessed he feels to be in his current situation. He’s also expressed a desire to help out his teammates in any way to get them some of the same opportunities. Robert has pointed out Grayson teammates that he felt deserved more attention, and also makes an effort to talk about them to college scouts.

In fact, Nkemdiche’s initial trip to Clemson, when he began to fall in love with the place, happened when he tagged along with buddy David Kamara on Kamara’s unofficial visit.

That was the context behind Nkemdiche’s “done deal” comment – to help another friend get a good look. He wasn’t using it as a power play. He did not indicate he’s entitled. He’s not holding Clemson “hostage” for another scholarship. It wasn’t about any of alleged wrongful intentions discussed this weekend across the Internet and on message boards.

It’s unfortunate because I know he’s nothing like that.

When you think about No. 1 guys, Robert has handled his pressure-cooker with a lot of maturity and thoughtfulness.

At one point, Robert toyed with the idea of committing earlier in the spring but decided to wait for several reasons, including these: So he could visit some of his favorite schools again, but also so college scouts would stop by Grayson to notice and evaluate his teammates during spring practice.

When Nkemdiche finally did commit, he didn’t schedule a national TV press conference. He didn’t sit in front of a table of baseball caps. He didn’t send out a press release. That’s just not Robert’s style.

The nation’s No. 1 prospect committed at a Clemson summer camp in front of his coach and a few teammates. It was low key but worked just fine for Robert because he was with many of his inner circle. Then he let a few reporters know about it and had only a few comments, preferring to avoid an avalanche of attention upon himself – which, of course, is unavoidable when you’re No. 1.

This summer, when other top prospects paraded around the camp/combine circuit, Nkemdiche has kept a low profile at Grayson High School, working out and training with his teammates. Yes, it’s true his coach preferred for Nkemdiche to hang around because he was injured at a camp last year. But Robert never really lobbied him on the issue because his focus is the No. 1 ranking – not as a prospect, but with Grayson’s football team, the reigning state champions.

Robert Nkemdiche’s is the best prospect out of high school that I’ve seen out of Georgia in 20+ years. There will be many stories written about him for years to come. He shouldn’t be judged on anything you’ve read anywhere this week.

UPDATED: On Sunday, Nkemdiche said his Clemson’s commitment would not be affected by what happened between Ryan Carter and the Tigers, according to NYT’s Adam Himmelsbach.

“Of course I would want to play with him,” Nkemdiche said of Carter. “But if it doesn’t work out, I’ll still go to Clemson.”

Nkemdiche said he never demanded that Clemson’s coaches pursue Carter; he said Carter joining him at Clemson would simply make a good situation better.

“I didn’t give Coach Swinney an ultimatum about anything,” Nkemdiche said. “I hope he doesn’t feel obligated to offer anybody a scholarship because of my commitment.”

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– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

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56 comments Add your comment

Roster Manager

July 8th, 2012
8:34 pm

Danny ford

July 8th, 2012
8:37 pm

Lol. Way to back off MC.

BigDawg

July 8th, 2012
8:43 pm

Lies, prima donna, glad UGA didn’t have to offer scholarships to his brother and whole team to get him. Done deal, wait, offer another friend and it’s a done deal. Good luck Clemons, we have had some prima donnas at UGA that didn’t work out so well. See our running back history!

bigtime

July 8th, 2012
8:43 pm

Bama 44

July 8th, 2012
8:51 pm

“Of course I would want to play with him,” Nkemdiche said of Carter. “But if it doesn’t work out, I’ll still go to Clemson.”

That’s basically saying the same thing as the other article, but in a nicer way. Carter will get a schollie from Clemson.

GT = 10 time loser to Mark Richt

July 8th, 2012
8:52 pm

MC is backpeddling faster than an NFL defensive back.

realist

July 8th, 2012
8:54 pm

MC, I see you changed the title/headline to the other article as well. You reporters get too carried away with this high school recruiting thing. You and many other journalist are alot of the reason why these kids are looked at as ego freaks, why alot of them are ego freaks, and why many of them feel liked they are entitled to the world, because you all blow their phones up looking for interviews everyday. And then you put misleading titles to get people to read. I see you back tracked on this article to do some damage control. It looks as though your trying to clean up alot of the negativity that you helped send his way. You wrote speculative articles about players from my alma mater, Stephenson High, also, making the kids look like their attention freaks, Mike Davis to be specific. Alot of them are not like that. You journalist and recruiting “experts” need to cool it a little, these are kids that you all are getting all aroused about. And as far as kids like Isaiah Crowell go, YOU GROWN MEN need to calm down on the man crushes that you have on these kids. You fanatic fans, along with the college coaches, and the recruiting services, and journalist, are mostly the reason why the kids think they can do whatever they want. The parents bare blame also. When you stop treating them like their GOD and stop acting like high school girl groupies, they will realize they are regular people. When your on blogs begging 17 yr olds to come to your school and saying how it makes your life and day better, and tuning in to the ceremonies, their heads are gonna get big. Realize its just football and they are kids. Stop treating these kids like their saviors

Beast from the East

July 8th, 2012
8:58 pm

Sounds like someone got dressed down by Dabo, the Grayson coaches or by Robert, himself. Gently persuaded to back away from his original angle?

dawgster

July 8th, 2012
9:00 pm

@realist….great comments

kingdaddy

July 8th, 2012
9:04 pm

Dont kare…

See Rock City

July 8th, 2012
9:08 pm

Good for him Clemson will make a nice fit. Auburn or LSU would be a horrible choice.

Charlotte CPA

July 8th, 2012
9:10 pm

And the AJC’s lawyers speak. lol

Cock of Gibraltar

July 8th, 2012
9:14 pm

Talk about a walk-back, Michael. Feeling a bit guilty? Both you and Nkemdiche knew exactly what he was saying and you were writing.

BLT

July 8th, 2012
9:16 pm

“MC is backpeddling faster than an NFL defensive back.”

Which one?

Charlotte CPA

July 8th, 2012
9:16 pm

“I am waiting on Clemson to offer Ryan; when that happens, it’s locked … it’s a done deal … it’s over,” Robert Nkemdiche told the AJC.

“If Clemson doesn’t offer Ryan, it would make me look at Ole Miss a little more, it would,” Nkemdiche said. “It’s very important that I have my boys with me.”

It is what it is. Can’t change those quotes.

jdawg

July 8th, 2012
9:19 pm

I thought he was committed to Clemson. What does any one else have to do with it now? It’s a joke. Who cares where you go young man. Man up, make your own decisions, and realize that no one is going to look out for you but you. Also, earn it before you burn it.

Taylor Wooten

July 8th, 2012
9:24 pm

Yeah…..whatever.

College football is sleazy. Everyone knows it.

Coach Tiz

July 8th, 2012
9:25 pm

Realist, WELL PUT! It’s unfortunate that adults with nothing else to do take high school kids words and twist them to create “news”. Not the first time we’ve seen this, either. Too bad you had to take the low road before you tried to take the high road, MC.

BCS Tiger

July 8th, 2012
9:34 pm

Georgia’s #1 instate WR just committed to Clemson. Ryan Jenkins didn’t go to Grayson.

It’s all back firing. Stick it SEC!

Polecat

July 8th, 2012
9:36 pm

Nice backtrack article. All that is missing is the misleading headline.

Game Changer

July 8th, 2012
9:37 pm

The past four weeks have been very unkind to UGA football and not looking to get better anytime soon. A terrible outing this weekend by the 2013 QB commit should make Bobo and Richt start offering a second QB in the 2013 class with 34 scholarships available.

Thuga Night is just around the corner and not one positive statement regarding a top recruit. Tray Matthews demeanor and tweeting is taking on a whole new thuga twist per many who follow, surprised, this kid was a stable young man, maybe the company he is keeping has started rubbing off in the wrong direction. Tray Matthews, be your own man and DO RIGHT, you have become a follower.

Delbert D.

July 8th, 2012
9:41 pm

I’m glad I didn’t say any dumb things when I was 17.

BLT

July 8th, 2012
9:50 pm

Surely you jest Delbert…

sarcasm

sam

July 8th, 2012
9:52 pm

BCS Tiger…..Ryan Jenkins brother is currently on Clemson roster. It would have been a shocker if Ryan did NOT go to Clemson.

Rick James

July 8th, 2012
9:53 pm

I wish him the best but we dont need this at UGA..Somebody will have egg on their face if he turns out to be average.

Vampire Bill

July 8th, 2012
10:03 pm

MAN I am tired of hearing about this kid. Please don’t come to UGA

kingdaddy

July 8th, 2012
10:04 pm

RJames
I wonder how many major football prospects from Ga. are going to other schools besides UGA? I guess we missed out on about 130-140 of them. Damn, we should have got them all…

North Campus Trash

July 8th, 2012
10:04 pm

Nice objective piece, MC.

Blackoutanyone?

July 8th, 2012
10:06 pm

I wish this young man nothing but the best of luck and many years of good health! With that being said, this article is embarrassing to say the least. MC you probably shouldn’t have posted his original quotes as it certainly allowed the young man to paint a bad picture for himself. But what’s done is done and you should’ve stuck by your article. Either way I’m glad you posted that info as most Bama fans can move on. Saban will never recruit in this manner and nor should he. Good luck to Clemson and Robert Nkemdiche. Roll Tide!

ClemPson

July 8th, 2012
10:10 pm

IPTAY = I peed twice after you.

Moobs Johnson

July 8th, 2012
10:12 pm

With Georgia sitting at 17 scholarships below the NCAA limit you would think that Richt could offer all of his friends a spot. I guess sitting on those will serve the UGAA’s bottom line well.

Game Changer

July 8th, 2012
10:12 pm

@blackout

At least MC puts article out for us to read and post on with each other. He is the only sportswriter at this time worth readin in the ajc.

ryan carter is a player that will help whoever he plays for. will be a solid nickle back on defense, special teams player and punt returner if needed.

Charles

July 8th, 2012
10:14 pm

Well Carvell, this article has officially cements the fact that you don’t have what it takes to be a bigtime journalist. The first article wasn’t even that bad, RN blows up at you on Twitter because he’s an entitled, immature, ego-inflated child, and you proceed to pen a puff-piece kissing the young man’s tail. Put simply….weak sauce. No guts.

Blackoutanyone?

July 8th, 2012
10:14 pm

BCS tiger…Clemson gave up more touchdowns in their bowl game (10) than Bama did all year (9). Your program is not on the same level as an SEC program. You are embarrassing yourself.

Game Changer

July 8th, 2012
10:15 pm

@moobsjohnson

UGA will offer the smart walk ons scholarships so we want drop below ncaa numbers and get penalized. Took eight walk on scholarships recently to keep ncaa off our backs.

man enough

July 8th, 2012
10:16 pm

Yeah, Saban would rather stick to ripping scholarship offers out from under their feet. Wonder which most people would consider more unethical?

little Nicky

July 8th, 2012
10:25 pm

Please don’t speak for me. I may offer this other kid and then just tell him at some point after signing day that we don’t have room for him.

3d

July 8th, 2012
10:25 pm

I thought it was a done deal a few weeks back and now all of a sudden it’s a lock if another of his boys is offered.

What happens next? Oh yeah coach. I forgot about my other home boy. It would really be a lock if you offer him too. Know what I’m saying DAWG!!

What a joke.

Game Changer

July 8th, 2012
10:28 pm

Unethical is recruiting players that have no way to learn at college level but because thier athletic talent is good enough to compete a MULTI MILLION DOLLAR COACH AND PROGRAM “EXPLOIT” THESE YOUNG MEN FOR A COUPLE YEARS THEN THROW THEM BACK ON THE STREET.

Stop with the unethical by one school over another, ALABAMA is no worse than UGA and many others.

Saban Never Sleeps

July 8th, 2012
10:32 pm

This story will only get more interesting as the season unfolds. I believe Clemson has created a big turd burger and will have to take a big ole bite. RN will be a top notch football player if he works hard but signing him will cost Clemson too many schollys and you cant big a championship team in that manner. No offense to the other players.

Lance

July 8th, 2012
10:35 pm

Is this reporting of Idolizing. It is so hard to tell. That was awful.

Blackoutanyone?

July 8th, 2012
10:59 pm

GC… I agree in regards to MC. Provides many great articles. My favorite recruiting blog for sure. He would probably like to have the first RN article back. Most of these kids aren’t ready to express themselves in a national news paper.

Man enough…. My post was not referring to the ethics of this situation. Saban does not do package deals. Look up the recruitment of one former 5* Bama commit Keenan Allen. As for ripping offers from kids.. Saban has asked injured kids to delay enrollment but has never pulled an offer to a committed prospect. It’s called managing a roster. You may not like it but Bama will have 85 on scholly come August while UGA will have less than 70.

Bitter spoiled recruit

July 8th, 2012
11:07 pm

@game shammer—explopt, please, without collage football there would be no influance from a high level of learning. Most of these kids from poor neigborHOODS dont have much of a chance to make it big. but hey nobody is holding a gun to there head(well now that crowell is gone—hahah)

250,000 plus 4 year scholly’s————-free food—free room and board—-free under the table stuff

free booty—-free xbox’s——free cars———-tell me when to stop—-black neck bamma turd

man enough

July 8th, 2012
11:11 pm

He did pull the offer. He pulled it for that year and offered him for the next.

And he did it right before signing day. The guy is a total piece of s**t.

Bitter spoiled recruit

July 8th, 2012
11:12 pm

R/n will take a gaint dump on CLEM AND SON—after getting his boy’s scholly’s

suckers—–he will take a bamma offer and laugh after he does the hat trick a week after nation signing day and the spot light is on him.

daaboo will not even be coach after game 6 this year

Bitter spoiled recruit

July 8th, 2012
11:16 pm

@game shammer—–these exploited young men could not play collage football and end up

like a fine young black TECH SUPPORTER—a person so dumb— VARSITY FRY COOK

———–IST SHIFT HOTDOG COOKER—–BLAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Blackoutanyone?

July 8th, 2012
11:20 pm

Man enough… Please list the name of this prospect so as I might help you pull your head out of your a**.

Justin Taylor was asked to delay enrollment 6 months in order to rehab his knee. I don’t quantify that as “ripping” his scholarship away. His scholly was available when he was available to perform. Nothing more nothing less.

brick

July 9th, 2012
12:01 am

MC, is all of this backtracking going to get you the scoop when Conn joins Clempson’s program after signing day?

But seriously these two stories should be an embarassment to you, either you made something up and put it in the paper, or like Clemson you were imtimadated by a 17 year old kid. Either way its embarassing to me for you.

Dawg-Gawn

July 9th, 2012
12:07 am

At 17 years old Robert Nkemdiche has some power… must of sent his #1 man (Luca Brasi) to visit with MC… something surely changed over the weekend!

It’s been reported that Carl Lawson was sent home early, for being disrespectful to the coaches at the Nike Opening!

It’s time the recruiting service’s add one more measurable to the rating system to grade the athlete’s…. which should be as important as their 40 times and that would be Character, maybe on a 1-10 scale.

More than likely this is why UGA never looked his way and he is a perfect fit for Auburn.

iTiSi

July 9th, 2012
12:57 am

If those two quotes from “Charlotte CPA” are accurate, and I think they are, then that says it all. You can’t take back a ‘fired bullet”. If this were in court, back tracking would not hold water! It am what it am!