National signing day is like a second Christmas morning for college football fans, and those who root for Ole Miss just woke up to find the keys to a brand new car under the tree. Except this car is more like a monster truck.
The gift that has every Rebels fan grinning is defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, the nation’s top prospect and possibly the most promising recruit in decades. The 285-pound monster of a man displays a raw combination of size, speed and strength that has drawn early-but-telling comparisons to all-time greats like linebacker Lawrence Taylor and running backs Bo Jackson and Herschel Walker.
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Nkemdiche (that’s “kim-dee-chee” for the unfamiliar) has long considered Ole Miss his favored destination because older brother Denzel is a linebacker on the Rebels’ roster. The young defensive end recently gave Rebels fans a scare when he appeared to greatly enjoy a recent visit to LSU, where he just so happened to bump into Shaquille O’Neal.
Though the visit went well, it wasn’t enough to overcome Nkemdiche’s familial ties – his mother also had Ole Miss picked as her top choice – and the defensive end announced this morning he’s officially heading to Mississippi next season.
For more information on Nkemdiche’s road to Oxford, be sure to check out Steven Godfrey’s terrific write-up on the many factors that influenced the final decision (teaser: they include former Rebels head coach Houston Nutt’s radical recruiting and subsequent firing). And if you’re at all doubting the young star’s talents, be sure to check out this highlight reel put together by ESPN:
In addition to the Nkemdiche brothers, Ole Miss has two four-star defensive players from last year’s recruiting class, end Channing Ward and tackle Issac Gross. With Nkemdiche officially committed, the Rebels may also be able to lure a few more top prospects throughout the day (UPDATE: Laremy Tunsil, this year’s top offensive lineman, has signed with Ole Miss). That sort of talent should go a long way toward making the Rebels competitive in the SEC, something for which the team’s fans have been waiting quite some time.
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