After struggling on the football field for years, the Ole Miss Rebels are building some very big expectations for the upcoming 2013 season. One of the (literally) biggest reasons for that is the decision of the nation’s No. 1-recruit to head to Oxford to play.
Robert Nkemdiche is a 6-foot-5, 270-pound freak of nature athletically. His brother, Denzel, starred for coach Hugh Freeze as a redshirt freshman in 2012, giving the school a natural advantage in luring the studly defensive lineman in. However, after a dramatic for months of recruiting between Ole Miss, Clemson, LSU and Florida, the younger Nkemdiche chose to make his college career a family matter during 2013’s National Signing Day.
Now, the question becomes, how does Freeze best utilize this tremendous talent? Nkemdiche still has to actually play the games, and against SEC competition, those games are going to be brutal.
All that being said, the program does not want to waste this Nkemdiche’s diverse skill set. They understand that one of the best ways to use younger brother is to move him all over the defensive line. According to the Hugh Kellenberger of the (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger, that is exactly what they are going to do.
“Also do not be surprised if you see Robert Nkemdiche lining up inside, particularly on passing downs,” Kellenberger says. “He’s big and strong enough at 6-foot-5, 270 pounds to do so on third downs, allowing [defensive line coach Chris Kiffin] and defensive coordinator Dave Wommack to stack the deck with pass-rushers.”
As for who those who would also be competing for playing time at defensive tackle, Kiffin and Wommack will have plenty to choose from.
This offseason, the Rebels brought in four-star JUCO prospect Lavon Hooks. He may, along with returning starter Issac Gross, man the defensive tackle spots for Ole Miss. That would leave Bryon Bennett, who was a starter last year, to rotate in with Herbert Moore, and Woodrow Hamilton.
No matter how many veteran guys were at the position before he got there, it won’t really matter as Nkemdiche works towards a starting position for the Rebels.