The first official visit is over for the No. 1 prospect in the country, Robert Nkemdiche (Loganville, Ga./Grayson). Coming into the week, it was a two-team battle for the 6-foot-5, 275-pound defensive end, with Ole Miss leading LSU.
That appears to have changed somewhat.
“Really all schools are even for me right now,” Nkediche said after visiting Florida this weekend. “No school has been kicked down or anything, but I just have to see the other schools and compare them. Florida, Ole Miss and LSU are all battling for that top spot.”
The trip to Florida was a positive one for the nation’s top recruit, as it reunited him with several other high-profile prospects he got to know earlier this month.
“It was fun hanging out with the other Florida commitments,” Nkemdiche said. “I met a lot of them during practice for the Under Armour All-America Game, and they all told me good players like to play with other good players, which is true. They were just letting me know we could do great things together at Florida and continue that tradition in Gainesville. I think I could make a big impact at Florida and really help this incoming class a lot.”
A fellow five-star prospect is hoping Nkemdiche will join him in suiting up for the Gators next season.
“I bonded really well with Vernon Hargreaves down there a few weeks ago and we just continued that during my visit to Florida,” Nkemdiche said. “We hung out and we talked about doing special things together and help each other get to the NFL.”
Nkemdiche also spent some quality time with another former standout from the Peach State.
“I hung out with Michael Taylor a lot and he told me the players are good people and the coaches are genuine and they keep their word to you,” Nkemdiche said.
The coaching staff made sure to let Nkemdiche know he is needed along the defensive line for the 2013 season and beyond.
“Coach (Will) Muschamp, Coach (D.J.) Durkin and the rest of the Florida coaches are really good dudes and they told me I had a great opportunity to come in and play right away,” Nkemdiche said. “I really like those guys.”
Next up for Nkemdiche is an official visit to Ole Miss, where he will once again be reunited with his older brother Denzel Nkemdiche, as standout linebacker for the Rebels who earned All-SEC honors in 2012 during his redshirt freshman season.
“I am looking forward to spending time with the Ole Miss coaches and players next week and seeing if I bond with them like I did with Florida,” Nkemdiche said. “I also want to spend some more time with my brother and just try to have a good time.”
Family has been a prominent factor throughout Nkemdiche’s recruitment, and it will be an important part of his final decision. The Gators were able to make a solid impression on at least one of Nkemdiche’s parents. The Rebels have been considered a strong frontrunner to land Nkemdiche because of his brother being in Oxford, Miss., but he said he is fond of the program based on its own merits as well.
“My dad liked Will Muschamp a lot,” Nkemdiche said. “I have spoken to my mom about Florida and LSU a little bit, but not really. Regardless of the family ties, I think Ole Miss is a good school and they have a chance to do really good things in the future.”