Posted by Bryan Fischer
Ole Miss picked up a late 2011 commitment over the weekend and the most interesting thing about him might not be his game film or his size but his last name. Loganville (Ga.) defensive back Denzel Nkemdiche took an official visit last week and liked the school enough to so much, he cancelled a visit to in-state power Georgia and pulled the trigger on a commitment to the Rebels.
"They said they thought I could come in and play immediately," Nkemdiche told RebelGrove.com. "If I get (to Ole Miss) in the summer focused and dedicated, there's no reason I can't get on the field this fall. (The visit) was awesome. I loved it. I like what they're trying to do. I like the team they're trying to build. ...It was relaxed. I got a good feel for it. I saw how pretty the atmosphere was, how pretty the campus was."
There were a few eyebrows raised once word of Nkemdiche's commitment broke. Denzel's younger brother, Robert, is one of - if not the - top players in the class of 2013 as a dominating defensive end who starred at the recent Georgia Nike Camp and already holds scholarship offers from Alabama, South Carolina and others. Naturally, everyone thanks that the Rebels took Denzel in hope of getting the inside track to land Robert after both have talked about playing college ball together.
“Robert’s words were ‘I can’t wait to take an official visit to Ole Miss, and have you as my recruiting host,’” Denzel told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He’s really liking them a lot because he knows I wasn’t too sure about them before my official visit and then I absolutely loved it there. He wants to see what they are all about. He’s excited about coming to my games and everything.”
It's not all about landing the younger brother however, as the Rebels do pick up a 6-foot, 210-pound speedster at corner in Denzel. It was an area of need for the team, which lost two players on Signing Day and has seen a rash of defections on the team to leave them well below the limit of 85 scholarships.
“Ole Miss never put any pressure on me to commit," the older Nkemdiche said. "But when I left there on Thursday, I felt like I was leaving my school. It was just a feeling I had. That’s why I decided to go ahead and commit to Ole Miss. It’s my school.”
Nkemdiche was not expected to qualify for admission earlier in the recruiting process and therefore didn't sign a letter of intent. He is still waiting on test results to meet NCAA Clearinghouse requirements but is expected to qualify, according to the paper. The Ole Miss compliance staff will be working overtime as soon as they receive the results, as Nkemdiche is trying to get enrolled this week so that he can join the team next week for summer school and the corresponding summer workouts.
Though he can only sign scholarship papers with the school, Nkemdiche should be the 29th player in the Rebels' class of 2011 once he officially enrolls. With his brother not expected to select a school until early 2014 after his senior season, that's plenty of time for Denzel and the Ole Miss staff to whisper in the ear of Robert about The Grove, Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and what it's like to play football at the school.
Only time will tell if the brothers really become a package deal however.