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

Note: Inappropriate BLOG comments and personal attacks will NOT be tolerated. We love the lively discussions but hate-filled, harassing and irresponsible comments are unacceptable.

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116 comments Add your comment

Mark Richt

August 1st, 2012
12:37 am

First!…Only time I can ever say that

Ole Miss Mafia

August 1st, 2012
12:42 am

The Ole Miss MAFIA got to Mario’s mother. Her comments to the Memphis paper were hilarious, orchestrated and completely out of touch with reality. Bless your heart, but Ole Miss has zero interest in your son. That ship has sailed. They used the knee injury as an excuse to get out of the offer with your son. They’re having a great year recruiting, running out of scholarships, and are going to “upgrade” at the position. Don’t take it personal, all the colleges do it. It’s just a shame you repeated what Hugh Freeze told you to tell the Memphis paper, rather than sticking up for your own son like your husband did. Best of luck on finding another school.

The TrutH

August 1st, 2012
12:43 am

I’m going to have to agree. Hugh Freeze is finished with Mario. The uproar was all about Nkemdiche, not Mario Mathis. He’s the prize, and kudos to Nkemdiche for sympathizing with Mario. It was very mature by Robert. I’m glad he stuck it to Ole Miss on Twitter. Go Big Rob!

Terry

August 1st, 2012
12:45 am

I don’t care about all the flip-flopping. Winning will solve everything, win and they will come, you can bet on that.

So Georgia Cock

August 1st, 2012
12:48 am

Freeze, you’re not a bonafide SEC coach unless you screw over a commitment. You passed the rookie test. Congrats!!!!!

Bama Stan

August 1st, 2012
12:50 am

Mario Mathis was “played” by Ole Miss

Clemson could hire Dr. Nkemdiche at the Chick-Fil-A, well if they had one.

GTBryan

August 1st, 2012
12:55 am

Ole Miss Mafia

It sounds like Ole Miss took a page out of Nick Saban’s book, doesn’t it? The SEC has no scruples.

Dawg SR

August 1st, 2012
1:02 am

Mario’s mother was funny. How could her husband say one thing, and she say something totally different? I will tell you how. The Ole Miss staff called and told her that Mario would have no chance at schollie if she didn’t go into fullblown PR mode. Hugh Freeze only wants one more player out of Georgia and that would be Mr. Nkemdiche.

Long live the Ole Miss Mafia LOL.

CHIP TOWERS MR AJC REQUEST FOR OPEN COMPLIANCE

August 1st, 2012
1:17 am

nEED SOME DIRT OR UNFAVORABLE INFO DUG UP ON YOUR FAVORITE TEAM OR EVEN THE TEAM THAT HELPS GET ME PAID? CONTACT CHIP. I AM THE MAN FOR THE JOB. I WILL NOT ADMIT THAT I REQUESTED THE INFO INSTEAD I WILL SAY THE AJC REQUESTED IT UNDER THE OPEN COMPLIANCE CRAP. I BANNED A BLOGGER FROM MY COLUMN FOR ASKING ME TO BE MAN ENOUGH TO SAY THAT I REQUESTED THE INFO ON UGA ATHLETES THAT WAS UNFAVORABLE TO THEM INSTEAD OF SAYING THE AJC REQUESTED IT. THAT BLOGGER HAD NEVER USED PROFANITY AND WAS A LONGTIME SUPPORTER OF MINE BUT HE GOT UNDER MY SKIN BY ASKING ME TO BE HONEST AND ADMITTING THAT I REQUESTED THE INFO. YOU KNOW A MAN CAN TAKE JUST SO MUCH AND THEN HE HAS TO TAKE ACTION. MICHAEL CARVELL DOES A FINE JOB AND HE HAS CRITICS BUT HE IS NOT AS THIN SKINNED AS I AM. GOT TO GO AND SEE WHAT ELSE I CAN FIND. YOUR faithful UGA reporter.

Dean Ziegler

August 1st, 2012
1:18 am

You ladies stay here and do your nails. I’m going to Horizons, where the action is.

CHIP TOWERS MR AJC REQUEST FOR OPEN COMPLIANCE

August 1st, 2012
1:18 am

Enter your comments here

Dean Ziegler

August 1st, 2012
1:33 am

Chip

There’s a separation between religion and insurance. It’s in the constitution.

Title Town, AL

August 1st, 2012
3:27 am

HardTruth Here, (regarding earlier comment)
Why don’t you shut your mouth and learn a little something about the history of the fight for civil rights. I don’t know where you are from and I don’t care, but if if you live on this earth the community you feel is so superior to Alabama and it’s people has an ugly past when it comes to race relations. It sounds as though you got your information by skimming through a 4th grade history book you moron! It seems that you forgot that Dr. King grew into the great leader he was living in Montgomery, Alabama. You might remember Rosa Parks whom according to your ignorant logic had no right to call anybody a racist b/c she is from alabama. According to you, Booker T Washington, George Washington Carver, Jesse Owens, Joe Lewis, Fmr secretary of state Rice, Fred Shuttlesworth and those 4 little girls you mentioned are all unworthy of respect bc they lived in Alabama? Climb off the high horse, think before you sound off. You are part of the problem and you don’t even realize it. Me, I was born with white skin, in 84 Birmingham, Alabama. Took yearly trips to that church on 16th street, the civil rights institute, the statues of police dogs. Heard all the stories of the inhumanity that happened in my home town as well as the rest of the south. It shaped who I am today. Made me see the cruelty of mankind and the incredible love and strength of mankind. I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am to be from Birmingham, Alabama. My people, and they are my people have overcome a great deal but fools like you choose to forget the heroes while shining a bright light on the likes of Bull Conner and George Wallace! You don’t know a thing!

Blackoutanyone?

August 1st, 2012
4:16 am

“Not only is Robert Nkemdiche the nation’s No. 1 overall college prospect, he also may be the most powerful.”

I would disagree with that statement. The primary reason this young man is not considering UGA, UF, Texas or Bama or any other elite program is because he has no power over these programs. He was laughed out of the office of each of these head coaches when he requested the 5 player package deal.

[...] AJC Quote: [...]

Bama Fan#2

August 1st, 2012
5:34 am

I think Dabo Clemson coach comes across looking like
a idiot by being played by RN. Saban would have
hit the button on his desk and said don’t like the door
hit you on the way out!!!

kingdaddy

August 1st, 2012
7:09 am

Is it soup yet???

GT = 10 time loser to Mark Richt

August 1st, 2012
7:30 am

Wow, MC is an “INSIDER” now.

kingdaddy

August 1st, 2012
7:51 am

They are just kids playing with peoples heads and the system. When will the NCAA step in and restrict recruiting to seniors who mantain a certain “minimum” GPA? If a school can flip on a kid then why can’t a kid flip on a school. Coaches going after children eariler and earlier so I think the coaches have brought the flipping issue about, not the kids. One thing we know for sure is kids will be kids…

kingdaddy

August 1st, 2012
7:58 am

The recruiting services are partly responsible too. Everytime a kid wants attention he gets word (wink, wink) to a recruiting service and bham, he’s in the news, lol…

tony

August 1st, 2012
7:58 am

The best way to keep our boys from leaving the state of ga is to win championships. Championships creates self confident, focus, dedication, ambition and more importantly RESPECT! UGA is the most disrespected football team in the country and that has to change.

Semeca

August 1st, 2012
8:26 am

Poor Georgia, you just can’t except RN doesn’t want to go to your school. Hell, even this damn newspaper trying to jade Ole Miss just to try and keep him from the Rebels. Wow stay classy

CC

August 1st, 2012
8:44 am

Will Kiffin get grief from the media for signing a Penn State player?

--- Bitter Spoiled Recruits---

August 1st, 2012
8:48 am

The CIRCUS SHOW that is R/N—–stay the heck out of athens—–TROLL

Son of Sammy Davis Jr, Jr

August 1st, 2012
8:48 am

With Boss Hogg and Roscoe Coletrain targeting UGA football players if I were a football recruit I would be hesitant to sign with UGA too. I would be more likely to go to Florida, Alabama, or LSU where you can do anything along as your not to far down the depth chart.

Holy Guacamole

August 1st, 2012
8:49 am

Not sure that UGA has enough room for the egos of RN adn RF.

DIT

August 1st, 2012
9:02 am

@Blackoutanyone?

Totally agree with you on that one!

AnnapolisDawg

August 1st, 2012
9:05 am

@ Title Town: “My people, and they are my people have overcome a great deal”

“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!

AnnapolisDawg

August 1st, 2012
9:05 am

@ Title Town: “My people, and they are my people have overcome a great deal”

“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!

Flo - Ri - Duh

August 1st, 2012
9:08 am

Lame Kitten is a bottom feeding leech.

kingdaddy

August 1st, 2012
9:10 am

B.O. hits one out of the park…

kingdaddy

August 1st, 2012
9:20 am

Where are all the haters, hateing on USC???

Tampa Gator

August 1st, 2012
9:21 am

Blackoutanyone….

We….the fans……have created what we have come to know as the recruiting monster, Robert Nkemdiche. Some day he will walk into Dabo Swinney’s office and say, “Do you know who you are talkng to?” Who cares what this kid thinks about the Ole Miss coach. And I am sure the Ole Miss coach is going to do what is right for the Ole Miss program no matter what Nkemdiche says in a tweet. Ole Miss will be Ole Miss with or without him. He is one recruit and one recruit does not make or break a football program, no matter how hightly rated he is or how good he is…or he or others think he is. I am sure the Ole Miss HC has not missed a minute of sleep over this…..son….shut up and play football….somewhere. Frankly, I could care less where you play…but am thankfut your never consdiered Florida or Florida you. You are a cancer ready to destroy a team if you keep this crap up…..trying to embarrass a head coach at a major university…..WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?

nate from detroit

August 1st, 2012
9:22 am

If Dabo winds up letting Big Rob tell him what kids should get offers, he will regret the day he did it no matter how good Nkemdiche may turn out to be. I don’t understand these kids now. My high school age kids tell me that I am too old school. To be offered by big-time programs should make them feel special enough. Can you imagine the circus that Wrightsville, Ga would have been in the winter/spring of 1980 if we had all of the recruiting media coverage then that we do now?

DawginLex

August 1st, 2012
9:26 am

Good post blackout

Tampa Gator

August 1st, 2012
9:28 am

Folks….I hate to say this. I think Kiffin as done an about face since leaving the Vols. What he has done at USC during their probation period is simply remarkable. He has been very professional in leading that team. Also…he handled the Silas Redd deal very professionally as well. The communication between him, Redd, his family, and Penn State has been done on the total up and up. And that is one of the main reasons Redd is headed out to the left coast to play I think. I could not stand Lame Kiffin during his time with the Vols, but I have been impressed with Lane Kiffin out at USC.

Tampa Gator

August 1st, 2012
9:30 am

……and I totally realize the Lane Kiffin could care less what I or any of us think about him….and never loses any sleep over it either way. But he was a jerk while he was in Knoxville….not so much now.

Holy Guacamole

August 1st, 2012
9:37 am

Lame Kiffin is still a self serving jerk IMHO.

Tampa Gator

August 1st, 2012
9:40 am

I think what happened to Lane Kiffin at Tennessee is this…….he drove his car around a bend in the road while coming out of the foothills and was pulled over by a Tenn. State trooper for going 60 in a sudden and quckly marked 55 MPH speed zone…..and after just leaving a 65 MPH speed zone just before the bend in the road….and after getting the unjust ticket….said….”I am getting out of Tennessee and I am never coming back to this backward arsse state ever again.” He learned the real meaning of Rocky Top…..and stupid cop.

The Bear

August 1st, 2012
9:43 am

Two posts hard to top! My hats are off to those posts!

Title Town, AL 3:27am
Blackoutanyone? 4:16am

UGA Insider

August 1st, 2012
9:45 am

Thank you RN for your non-interest in UGA….. Ole Miss and Clemson look terrible and most of their fansbase has to be embarrassed. I would imagine the NCAA is monitoring this situation very closely.

Gorilla Biscuit

August 1st, 2012
9:48 am

“But he was a jerk while he was in Knoxville….not so much now.”

He’s still a jerk. Just not so much in your face anymore since he’s “out there”.

DawginLex

August 1st, 2012
9:51 am

Greg Reid dismissed by Jimbo at FSU this morning

Alabama state looking strong

Crowell
Dyer
Reid

Mor'a' of the same BS from Mora

August 1st, 2012
10:01 am

“Since the RB from Eagles Landing Christian Academy pledged to UCLA last February, he hadn’t really heard from them.”

Jimmy M. used this kid. Mora is a jerk, clown, idiot. Punk.

DP

August 1st, 2012
10:02 am

“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.”

“We”????

Dawg-Gawn

August 1st, 2012
10:04 am

Yeah, Lane Kiffin, has perfected college corruption into artwork… how much did you get paid, to say that Tampa Gator?

Comical, at best… tell that joke at your local comedy club… guaranteed to bring the house down!

Tampa Gator

August 1st, 2012
10:08 am

So glad Greg Reid went to FSU instead of Florida. The boy has been trouble from day one….but FSU game him 1000 days to cause it.

Cdpridg

August 1st, 2012
10:09 am

Have to agree with Black….Nkemdiche is toying with relatively new coaches at either bad programs or middle of the road teams in the weak ACC. He is not pulling anyones chain at the big schools…they wrote him off. If vb you are the #1 prospect in the nation and u want to go to clemson or ole miss…so be it….i would want more as a competitor

Tampa Gator

August 1st, 2012
10:11 am

…..the only Alabama State Mr. Dyer is heading to is the Alabama State Pen…..what a complete idiot that kid is. NFL talent. NFL money. NFL career. NFL lifestyle….ALL GONE. Stupid is as stupid does. Same with Reid…..but I am sure some NFL team will give Reid a shot….but probably not Dyer….well….maybe someone will regretfullly.

Tampa Gator

August 1st, 2012
10:18 am

DawgGawn….

Kiffin went into a bad situation at USC…..has won despite it….has recruited very well despite it…..and his team will be ranked in the top 5 to start the season despite it…..and has the top class in the country….by far….this year despite it. I did not get paid anything. I just took off my SEC sunglasses and looked at the situation out there with an open mind….something very few of us rarely do on here. Kiffin has done an outstanding…if not great….job since arriving on the USC campus. He not only held the deal together during the probation period….but someone help maintain USC at a power team during the process. Very impressive. But you can think and say whatever you want. You live in America….the home of freedom of speech.