Q&A with Robert Nkemdiche’s coach on his de-commit from Clemson

No. 1 prospect Robert Nkemdiche (Twitter)

No. 1 prospect Robert Nkemdiche (Twitter)

GRAYSON, Ga. — Robert Nkemdiche, the nation’s undisputed No. 1 overall college football prospect, officially de-committed from Clemson on Thursday. You can get a quick recap here.

The 6-foot-5, 284-pound defensive end from Grayson High School had been committed to Clemson since June.

At Grayson on Thursday evening, Nkemdiche looked upbeat as he exchanged hugs and high fives with coaches as the team’s football practice concluded. Nkemdiche politely declined interview requests, but did say he had not re-activated his Twitter account and that somebody was impersonating him.

Grayson coach Mickey Conn did a Q&A with the AJC to explain the 5-star recruit’s decision to de-commit:

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Robert has de-committed from Clemson? “That’s right. Robert is unsure right now where he wants to go. He wants to weigh out his options and, out of respect for Clemson, Robert didn’t want to keep on making trips to other places. And he felt like he was being disrespectful to Clemson in doing that. You know he’s a young kid. There’s people and places and schools that he wants to see. So that’s what he wants to do right now. But Clemson is not out of the picture. There’s lots of schools. He just wanted to open up his options and see what was out there.”

You said Robert de-committed to clear his mind? “I think so. I think out of respect to Clemson … you know, he’s making trips and going places. So he wanted to be upfront with those guys (at Clemson) and let them know, so he’s not going to different places and that sort of thing without them knowing. He’s just unsure right now what he wants to do.”

How did Clemson take the news? “They’re fine. Clemson is fine. They’re going to continue to recruit Robert. You know, those are good guys over there at Clemson, and they understand. So, they are fine. They’re fine, they’re just going to keep recruiting him.”

You were quoted as saying it will be a “family decision” with Robert’s final choice? “It’s always a family decision when you make decisions like this. You want to do what’s best for you. You want to do what’s best for your family. So, as far as that goes, I know he wants to talk to his Mom and Dad, and make the right decision that’s right for him and his family.”

How is Robert handling Thursday’s turn of events? “Robert has got a big heart, and he doesn’t want to hurt anybody. He doesn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, or anything like that. So he’s handling it fine.  We just told him to turn his phone off.”

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So Robert wants to visit some other schools? I think you mentioned Alabama? “I don’t know where he wants to visit. I just know he went this past weekend — he went to the Georgia game. He went to see his brother play because Georgia  (was) playing Ole Miss. There’s other schools, but you’ll have to ask him. He will have to tell you that, where he wants to visit. I don’t know if Alabama is in the mix or not. To be honest, we’ve been really focused on our game (on Friday). We’re trying to put the recruiting on the backburner right now. In February, he’ll make his decision, and everybody can know.”

Do you think Robert’s recruiting will play out until signing day? “I think it should. That’s up to him. But I think he needs to go and take his visits. What do you get, five visits? He needs to pick five schools, and he needs to go visit them. You know, he needs to take his parents with him, and they need to visit with the coaches and make the family decision on what’s right and what’s best for Robert.”

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