May 21, 2011

Early playing time key in Nkemdiche's decision

Denzel Nkemdiche said Thursday he didn't believe his college decision would be a difficult one.

It apparently wasn't tough at all.

The 6-foot, 206-pounder from Loganville (Grayson), Ga., had intended to wait until Monday to announce his choice. However, by late Friday, Nkemdiche was posting "Hotty Toddy" on his page and informing Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt of his intention to play for the Rebels.

"They said they thought I could come in and play immediately," Nkemdiche said following his official visit to Oxford. "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 to Ole Miss) 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."

Due to NCAA rules, Nkemdiche cannot sign a national letter-of-intent because the LOI period ended on April 1. He can sign an athletic grant with Ole Miss, though that document would not be binding until he attends his first day of summer college classes.

Nkemdiche said Ole Miss is hopeful he can receive his qualifying score on the SAT in time to start summer school on June 1. Otherwise, Nkemdiche would have to wait until the start of the second summer session to begin classes in Oxford, extending the timeframe for another suitor to jump into the mix.

Nkemdiche said he chose Ole Miss over Georgia, and he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution late Friday he didn't "really see the Georgia visit happening now …I really don't. I will talk to my father and my coach (Mickey Conn) about it and see what they say. But I don't think that will happen. I'm excited about Ole Miss."

Nkemdiche's recruiting is newsworthy on two fronts. One, the Rebels desperately need help at cornerback. Two, Nkemdiche's younger brother, rising junior defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, is widely considered one of the nation's top prospects in the 2013 signing class.

"Robert's words were 'I can't wait to take an official visit to Ole Miss, and have you as my recruiting host,'" Denzel Nkemdiche told the AJC. "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."

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