Ties that Bind

LOGANVILLE, Ga. -- Ole Miss had a great in with Robert Nkemdiche, the nation's consensus number one recruit.


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Head coach Hugh Freeze said as much in the opening statement of his National Signing Day press conference.

"Obviously we have some great ins to national guys," Freeze said. "I think that's something that people criticize. They don't understand that we have the brother of the number one recruit in the country who just had an incredible experience at Ole Miss this year.

"Family is very important to that family, to the mom, to the dad and to that brother."

When Robert put the Ole Miss hat on and removed his letterman jacket to reveal a bowtie and suspenders, which matched the attire of older brother Denzel, it was a special moment for the Nkemdiche family. Denzel described the feeling as unreal.

"It's really hard to explain," Denzel said. "I'm glad it's over. I wanted him to make the right decision that he wanted to make, and I wanted to him to feel comfortable with the decision he made because it's going to be where he's going to be for the next three years."

Robert, himself, said his family "were real big" in his decision to pick Ole Miss, adding that, "They wanted one thing, and they helped me decide where I wanted to go."


Robert and Beverly Nkemdiche
Austin Miller

Denzel said he never doubted from day one when signed with Ole Miss that he and his brother would play together in college.

"Since the day I signed with Ole Miss, I've said that he was going to come play with me, but I've told myself that over and over again," Denzel said. "Then he committed to Clemson, and I'm still telling myself that he's still going to come play with me."

Robert and Denzel's mother, Beverly, who was vocal in her desire to see her sons play together, was clear that picking Ole Miss was Robert's decision, adding that she wasn't quite sure which way he was going to go until Tuesday.

"Denzel and Robert are very, very close," Beverly said. "That was what really gave me the confidence that, ‘Hey, he will go with his brother.'

"I didn't tell him, ‘You must go there.' I said, ‘I would like you to go, I would prefer you to go where your brother is, what do you think.' And so, he chose that."

Denzel said he wasn't in Robert's ear, as far as recruiting him during the process, but let his play, which included Freshman All-SEC team and All-SEC second team honors, do the talking.

"I feel like he needed to see me play and need to see me do it in the SEC for him to be able to be won over completely and know that there is a possible opportunity for us to play for a BCS Championship," Denzel said.


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