We put these high school athletes on a pedestal… That kid that decommitted is the number one trend on twitter
— Carson Tinker (@carsontink) November 8, 2012
“That kid,” as Alabama Crimson Tide long snapper Carson Tinker noted, is Robert Nkemdiche, the nation’s top high school football prospect for 2013, and someone who at a young age, knows how to get the attention of the sports media.
Nkemdiche, the brother of Ole Miss linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche, committed to Clemson last summer being courted by numerous schools, including the University of Alabama. The the 6-foot-5, 270-pound defensive end initially delayed his announcement before finally stating that he was going to play for Dabo Sweeney.
Prior to his commitment, Clemson offered scholarships to Nkemdiche’s high school teammates. Some reports noted that gaining the services of the star defensive end required a package deal.
Then, in a presage to the latest twist in the Clemson saga, Nkemdiche’s mother Beverly let it be known that her favorite school was in Tuscaloosa:
“I’ve never been to Clemson. I’ve not talked to anybody from Clemson’s team. I don’t want to go there because that’s out of my way. There is nothing that would take me there. What took me to Ole Miss was Denzel. I haven’t been to any other school. Honestly, if Denzel was not at Ole Miss, I wouldn’t have gone to Ole Miss. My No. 1 team is Alabama. That’s one school I truly love, Alabama.”
Now comes the news that Nkemdiche has decommitted from Clemson, and intends to visit other schools, particularly Ole Miss.
Those of us writing about college football fall all over ourselves covering the decisions of high school kids. Football is a big-money sport, and Nkemdiche’s decision could impact a school’s bottom line to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. We know it, and you know the fans know it.
And more and more, the athletes know it, too.