INSIDER: The powerful influence of Robert Nkemdiche



“Flipping” is the popular sport of recruits switching their commitments between colleges, and it’s a winter sport that usually happens in January.

However, there’s a new trend emerging: With prospects being offered earlier and earlier by colleges, flipping is now becoming a summer sport, too.

WR Tramel Terry de-committed and re-committed to UGA (247sports)

WR Tramel Terry de-committed and re-committed to UGA (247sports)

There have been several flips from longtime commits over the summer, including LB Reuben Foster (from Alabama to Auburn) and RB Derrick Henry (from UGA to likely another school this month). Both Foster and Henry had been committed to their first school for nearly a year.

We’re six months away from signing day and UGA has already had three de-commits. Along with Henry, there’s WR Kyrin Priester (who remains undecided) and WR Tramel Terry – who committed to UGA, de-committed and pledged again to the Bulldogs.

Georgia Tech convinced LB Nigel Bowden to flip from Vanderbilt but then he switched back to the Commodores. He’s a rare “double flipper.”

THE GEORGIA FLIPPERS: Keyante Green had a good reason to flip from UCLA to Purdue last weekend. Since the RB from Eagles Landing Christian Academy pledged to UCLA last February, he hadn’t really heard from them. (Note to all recruits: That is a bad sign) Said Green, “I really haven’t heard from them … once, maybe twice since February. They didn’t keep in touch with me. I tried to call sometimes and they never answered.” Some of the state’s other 2012 flippers are Lassiter QB Eddie Printz (from SMU to UCLA), Milton OL Eason Fromayan (Cincinnati to TCU) and Pepperell OL Andy Dodd (from Alabama to LSU).

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze (AP)

Ole Miss "cut" two commits last weekend, with LB Mario Mathis being one, according to the Clarion-Ledger (AP)

THE POWER OF NKEMDICHE: Not only is Robert Nkemdiche the nation’s No. 1 overall college prospect, he also may be the most powerful. He sent Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze and the team’s fans into widespread panic after he expressed his disappointment over the Rebels withdrawing the scholarship offer to Thomasville LB Mario Mathis, who had been committed for nearly three months. Nkemdiche first tweeted at Mathis, saying “Keep your head up.” Then Nkemdiche set off fire alarms across Mississippi when he tweeted “Messed up what [Ole Miss] did to Mario Mathis.” Quick summary: Mario’s father told the AJC that the scholarship was revoked by Ole Miss because “they didn’t like progress of his recovery from knee surgery” after his workout at last Friday’s summer camp. His father was obviously disappointed, as any parent would be, and his comments about Ole Miss were quite respectful if actually you read them. What set off the fire alarms was Nkemdiche’s reaction, because Ole Miss is convinced they have a great chance at flipping him from Clemson. From then on, it was full damage-control mode for Ole Miss for the rest of the day. Hugh Freeze was kind enough to call the AJC. Nice guy and enjoyed the conversation, but his staff likely made a rookie mistake by extending an offer and accepting a commitment from Mathis, even if it was on the contingency of Mario’s knee recovery. Mathis wasn’t being that highly recruited, and they put themselves in an awkward position by accepting a commitment that might later be taken away. Later that evening, Mario’s mother spoke to the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, saying, “Ole Miss has never been anything but honest with Mario. He’s not guaranteed a scholarship anywhere unless he can play on that leg. You can’t give a scholarship to someone who can’t physically play. It’s ridiculous to think otherwise.” Kind words by Mario’s mother, who still holds out hopes that Ole Miss will offer again when Mario is proven healthy. But we’d be pleasantly shocked if that happened. According to 247sports, Ole Miss has offered a mind-boggling 281 prospects and has 19 commitments for 2013. They appear to be holding spots for several high-profile prospects, including Nkemdiche, who would likely bring a couple of his Grayson teammates along. We also wonder if fire alarms would go off at Ole Miss if Nkemdiche sounded off on Christopher Robinson, a DT from Louisiana who was also “cut” by Ole Miss because of academic concerns last weekend after being committed since April, according to the Clarion-Ledger. Robinson’s coach vented on Ole Miss, telling the Shreveport Times, “(Ole Miss) said they weren’t able to get in touch with the counselor to see if a plan was in place for Chris to be eligible,” Wilson said. “I told them, ‘I guess you haven’t been talking to the right people.’” You’ve got to love the drama of recruiting. And it’s only August 1. We’re six months away from signing day.

MORE NKEMDICHE: The nation’s No. 1 overall prospect did a ton of interviews at an Alabama 7-on-7 camp and here’s the summary: He’s committed to Clemson, he will definitely go see his brother play football at Ole Miss this season, and he is “unsure” if he will take official visits to other schools – but if he does, USC and Oregon are candidates. He also may have broken one of his left fingers at the camp.

WACKIEST NKEMDICHE RUMOR OF THE WEEK: “Head to Head Radio” show, which is broadcast across the state of Mississippi, put the rumor out there that Nkemdiche’s father (who is a doctor) has accepted a job at University Medical Center in Jackson, Miss., and will start in May. Click here to read more.

This guy can recruit (AP)

This guy can recruit (AP)

BEST PACKAGE DEAL EVER? Everybody knows how Nkemdiche would love to play with a couple of his best friends at Clemson, but he’s got nothing on ESPN’s No. 1-ranked signee from 2012. DE Mario Edwards of Denton, Texas, signed with Florida State last February, and his father was quietly hired by FSU earlier this month. It’s a gray area with the NCAA and you can read more about it here. By the way, we don’t have any problems with “package deals.” We think every player should ask for the moon with all the profits the colleges make on the game.

RECRUITING AWARDS: Can anybody recruit better than Lane Kiffin? OK, maybe Nick Saban. USC has landed Penn State’s star transfer, RB Silas Redd, according to ESPN.

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– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

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116 comments Add your comment

Holy Guacamole

August 1st, 2012
10:39 am

Tampa Gator – regretfully, you are correct on the situation on the left coast. Got to hand it to him, he is a good coach and a great recruiter with a knockout wife. Don’t know what he is doing but it’s working.

But, IMHO, he is still a jerk.

DawginLex

August 1st, 2012
10:41 am

Kiffin inherited Matt Barkley which sure didn’t hurt either

Believe it or not, the Manning brothers said Murray is better at their camp recently

Son of Sammy Davis Jr, Jr

August 1st, 2012
10:45 am

Lane Kiffin is overated as a football coach. He realized how hard it is in the SEC and he bolted. USCw was an easy program to turn around in a weak Pac-10 and the high number of good football players in Cali.

McDawg

August 1st, 2012
10:53 am

he was a great OC we will now see how good of a head coach-this is all his team now

dawgster

August 1st, 2012
11:14 am

You can rest assured whatever Kiffin and his staff are doing, it probably is not on the up and up…sorry but not going to give the jerk any respect for what he did to Tenn..and I’m know Tenn fan, bit he is slight of hand and will eventually get caught up with….

dawgster

August 1st, 2012
11:14 am

You can rest assured whatever Kiffin and his staff are doing, it probably is not on the up and up…sorry but not going to give the jerk any respect for what he did to Tenn..and I’m know Tenn fan, but he is slight of hand and will eventually get caught up with….

Sinko

August 1st, 2012
11:25 am

Hearing that the NCAA has heard of possible “donations” by some Ole Miss boosters given to momma Mathis as an attempt for some damage control. Shady stuff going on around Freeze apparently.

Tampa Gator

August 1st, 2012
11:26 am

Speaking of flipping…..recently decommited from Oklahoma….Greg Bryant….highly rated RB from Florida….contacted Richt yesterday about possibly playing for the Dawgs….also South Carolina.

Tampa Gator

August 1st, 2012
11:31 am

Dawgster….

You can rest assure that Pat Haden….who is very up and up…..will not and is not letting Kiffin do anyting that is not up and up. And they are coming off sanctions….and the NCAA has a very sharp eye on them. So you can dislike the man for what he did in Knoxville…..but that does not translate into anything that is happening now at USC. Period.

Tampa Gator

August 1st, 2012
11:33 am

Time to go beach fishing….late start……hope I do not catch any sucker fish today.

Ole Big Dawg

August 1st, 2012
11:41 am

Enjoy yourself Tampa….living the, life!

GTBob

August 1st, 2012
11:44 am

I don’t even consider it flipping anymore. No recruit in the country is actually committed to anyone right now. Its more of a statement of who a recruit likes at a certain point in time. The problem isn’t with them changing their mind, its more with everyone else assuming they won’t change their mind.

A person SMART enough to know......

August 1st, 2012
12:15 pm

What SCHOOL is showing the LOVE now?

harold

August 1st, 2012
12:29 pm

TOP TIER SEC TEAMS: ALABAMA AND LSU—–FLORIDA USED TO BE.
SECOND TIER—-FLORIDA—AUBURN–ARKANSAS—UGA
THIRD TIER—ALL THE OTHER SEC SCHOOLS.

dawgster

August 1st, 2012
12:37 pm

@Tampagator…sorry but not buying with Kiffin being on the hi and up…I agree Haden is Stand-up guy, bit at some point Kiffin will get this program on further trouble…just my opinion, but I gave no respect for Kiffin and his antics…none.

Title Town, AL

August 1st, 2012
1:01 pm

On Lane Kiffin, I can’t stand the guy. I’m an alabama fan and was offended by what he did to tennessee. There is no denying his success at USC. It’s a fact. IMO I think it has everything to do with his image. The kids think he is cool basically. I remember a few years back he was mentioned in a rap song “talk shi like lane kiffin”. If a kid can go to a school bc he likes the uniform, i.e Oregon etc. Lane’s hot wife and “player’s friend” image is for some unknown reason attractive to recruits. The truth is, I believe he knows very little as far as x’s and o’s and has ridden his father’s coat tails to medium success with elite talent. I really think that program is a house of cards. Everybody talks about them having beaten the sanctions, total bs. Have they? How would anybody know? If I remember correctly, the reduction in scholarships was for last years recruiting class and the 2013 class. I would think they have not even felt the affects of the sanctions yet. If I’m wrong please explain.

Big Crimson 75

August 1st, 2012
1:21 pm

Never in my life have I seen someone do so little yet get so much pub.
Kiffen is over rated. 1 good season as a HC out of 6!!!
5 & 15 in Oakland.
7 & 6 at UT.
18 & 7 at USC.
I do not understand the love affair.

Jackson

August 1st, 2012
1:26 pm

Maybe we can learn a little from Dabo instead of bashing him and his staff’s success. If Adams commits to Clemson, they will have five of the best defensive freshman in their class next year. Let’s build what they are building.

True ATL Fan

August 1st, 2012
1:39 pm

Classic case of someone feeling themselves way too much. Never see the kid Nkemdiche play but he better be all-world since the AJC consists on talking about him daily since February. Dude is just hitting his senior season and yet he is “powerful.” Dont make me laugh. This dude may absolutley flop in college we never know. Reminds me alot of Da’Quan Bowers (who was supposed to be the greatest ever)and we see how that panned out. Good luck but I’d rather read an article on Tech than another on this guy.

Title Town, AL

August 1st, 2012
1:46 pm

Annapolis Dawg, more like Annapolis Dumb
““Your people” might of had a little prodding to change their evil ways. I am happy however that you are proud of your lowly achievements. Now go and see if you can catch up with the rest of the country and stop emulating Mississippi!”

You may be from Maryland, Georgia, it really does not matter. Do you live in a bubble or are you special ed?, perhaps your a child, Please tell me of this magical place that that you speak of that Alabama is so far behind. Dr. King had a dream. You seem to think his dream has been achieved in these United States of America save Alabama and Miss. Be a man, back up your statement and tell me where? Florida, nope TM, California, nope, riots/rodney, Maryland, nope check the history on there fb program, Georgia are you kidding me? If you have any kind of scoop, please let me know. If not, well….stop talking about stuff you are not educated on.

G-Dawg

August 1st, 2012
1:46 pm

Feeling Adams is more a Auburn lean than Clemson at this point. Wont come to UGA…he’s wanting to play in a 4-3 defense. Although, he’d probably be good in either system.

G-Dawg

August 1st, 2012
1:49 pm

The real Title Town is in GA….Valdosta. Go Blazers!!

Title Town, AL

August 1st, 2012
1:58 pm

Got no problems with Valdosta, hope the blazers do well.

Title Town, AL

August 1st, 2012
2:02 pm

i think your right about adams to auburn. They can recruit. I don’t understand it but it’s true. As a bama fan, still not worried about the little brother. I like it when they compete. I just know my coach is that much better then little brother’s.

A person SMART enough to know......

August 1st, 2012
2:09 pm

What the hell else is there to do in Valdosta? Kinda like Athens without all the alcohol and drunk easy women.

G-Dawg

August 1st, 2012
2:10 pm

Even the OU decommit and that VA RB stud are both looking at Auburn right now. Gotta be in the money…no other way around it. Gordner will be a improvement at the DC position…but not sure Martinez will. He didnt last long at OU.

A person SMART enough to know......

August 1st, 2012
2:11 pm

Does GaState….the other GSU…..have any recruits? LMAO

G-Dawg

August 1st, 2012
2:13 pm

LOL…plenty of a$$ and alcohol down there! Fun college town! Definitely, no Midtown area for Smart ppl to loiter around though.

7576DAWG

August 1st, 2012
2:16 pm

Kiffin is a pretty good coach but no where near a great coach. What makes Lane successful is having a great assistant coach which happens to be his Father. His Dad is a great recruiter too.
He left for Southern Cal because the timing of his dream job that came open made him look like a jerk at Tennessee’s expense. I really don’t blame him but who wouldn’t want the Southern Cal job over an SEC Coaching job if you are from California. All you have is 1 to 3 hard games a year plus the winner of the Pac-12 plays the winner of the Big Ten . You can’t get any easier trying to win a National Title versus if you coached an SEC team where you will play at least 5 maybe 6 hard teams every year. Just a little harder to win a national title.
I’m just glad that Notre Dame is losing a few games a year because they could easily get away with not playing anyone , no Conference Championship game and end up in a BCS or the National Championship game and not deserve it. The more teams we have in a Playoff, I hope is expanded to 8 , the least likely a non deserving Boise State type or a team like Notre Dame will end up in the Championship game.

Title Town, AL

August 1st, 2012
2:17 pm

I thought the same thing about au and the money after foster flipped like he flipped but being an alabama fan I don’t trust my opinion on auburn. I don’t see any other way that makes sense with the recruiting success. Im glad you said that. Is that the general thinking on Auburn around the country?

A person SMART enough to know......

August 1st, 2012
2:19 pm

G-Dwag that is because they do it (the Midtown thing) in the Football Locker-room or showers.

A person SMART enough to know......

August 1st, 2012
2:21 pm

Does ANYBODY really think UGa will suspend many players for the Mizzou game?

Title Town, AL

August 1st, 2012
2:24 pm

yes, mr would look like a fool if he went back on his suspensions

G-Dawg

August 1st, 2012
2:25 pm

Wouldnt know…cause I KNOW better to not drop the soap!! Seems you’ve been Sanduskied though, since you brought it up.

Suspensions….No.

Title Town, AL

August 1st, 2012
2:30 pm

I wanna see if Lane takes any heat on poaching Redd. I think every other coach in the country would but get the feeling they are gonna let him slide. I still don’t see why USC should be ranked number 1 at the beginning. Everybody knows thats a tremendous advantage especially when you play in a bad conference. What did they do to deserve the preseason #1. They beat ucla by 50 trying to get the qb a trip to the heisman ceremony. Bravo! Anybody in the press remember them loosing to Arizona State?

McDawg

August 1st, 2012
2:45 pm

is Tray Matthews going to go play w/ his boyfriend

GStateBen

August 1st, 2012
3:41 pm

Mario Edwards, Sr. was also a very good player for FSU. Less of a suprise as Jimbo has brought back former player Tamarick Vanover and Terrell Buckley in recent years. Not sure this qualifies as a package deal that would throw up red flags.

Title Town, AL

August 1st, 2012
4:16 pm

McDawg, i love the comment. What is the deal with him and Foster. It reminds me of Nkemdiche needing his security blankets with him in college.

G-Dawg

August 1st, 2012
4:39 pm

Wonder how Kamara felt after catching all those td passes from Ramsey in that recent tourny!!

Ron Swanson

August 1st, 2012
4:41 pm

Blackoutanyone?

Good job with your 4:16am post. That’s easily the best and most sensible post I’ve ever read from you.

Birmingham Rebel

August 1st, 2012
6:39 pm

Simply want to say that the writer of this blog lost his credibility when he failed to talk to the recruits(Mario’s) mother. Coach Freeze kept the family up to snuff all along, and when Mario failed the physical requirements, Freeze cut him loose 6 months before signing day, so that the kid could have a chance to get a scholly to another (1AA probably) program. His parent was appreciative of CHF, because they have been in touch constantly. If the kid’s injury heals and he is able to play as he did as a Junior, there will be many schools (including OM) who will recruit him.

This was hack journalism at it;s best, and the blog writer should be ashamed of himself for not writing a retraction and an apology. I guess with the internet, you can write just anything you please without an editor around to correct you. This writer should go back to school.

Tampa Gator

August 1st, 2012
8:46 pm

G-Dawg…..

I would say he felt greadt about it. Unfortunately, the opposing QB could not throw too many against a Southeast secondary that included two future Gators….Vernon Hargreaves III and Tre Bell.

Tampa Gator

August 1st, 2012
8:48 pm

By the way…..Marcell Harris was upset that he did not get to play on the SE team with Bell and Hargreaves……at the Gridion Kings in Orlando….what does that say about where he might be headed?

mike

August 1st, 2012
9:43 pm

Dang it’s ok for guy to flip on a commitment but it’s not ok for a scholl to do so. what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. so stop whinning you bunch of cry babies.

mike

August 1st, 2012
9:44 pm

oops scholl= school….lol

The Man

August 1st, 2012
9:49 pm

How many of these college coaches have real integrity? Ole Miss has made 281 offers with 19 commitments! Let’s get real. Why offer a scholarship if you aren’t for real? It makes me laugh when a kid “flips” at the last minute and these same coaches cry.

Tampa Gator

August 1st, 2012
10:31 pm

Yet another top Georgia recuit leaving the state….Brandon Langley committed to South Carolina over Georgia. This is getting to be a habbit. Are the Georgia coaches not recruiting the state of Georgia these days?

TIM BUCK

August 1st, 2012
11:06 pm

Bama nat champs 2 outta 3…………RMFT

shannon1776

August 1st, 2012
11:12 pm

Can Kmdichie next give us his opinion on the Jewish-Palestinian crisis? What a debutante. Grow some stones young man.

Blackoutanyone?

August 2nd, 2012
6:59 am

Tampa Gator… I would take it easy on the Kiffin cool aid. 18-7 with only one win of significance (38-35 @ Oregon). Pete Carol didn’t leave the cupboard bare either. As far as recruiting goes, I wont take anything from him but keep in mind it’s the University of Southern California. Like UF, the school recruits for itself with far less competition for in state kids. The NCAA sanctions will begin to take affect after next season when depth will become a major factor. As for next season. I personally don’t believe USC goes undefeated but if they should, I don’t expect them to be prepared to handle the O-line or D-line of either LSU or Bama.