Nkemdiche could quickly become the face of the Clemson defense and an asset on the recruiting trail
CLEMSON — Robert Nkemdiche’s commitment means many things to Clemson.
According to scouts, the 6-4, 270-pound defensive end could quickly become the face of the Clemson defense. The Georgia native’s commitment could also create positive momentum to help Clemson improve its 2013 recruiting class.
Nkemdiche’s commitment also showcases what Clemson coach Dabo Swinney does best: recruit.
Assuming Nkemdiche (pronounced Kim-DEE-Chee) signs a letter of intent with Clemson, the nation’s No. 1 prospect in the class of 2013, could become an every-down impact lineman, affecting opponents’ running and passing game.
247Sports.com national recruiting analyst Gerry Hamilton says Nkemdiche has all the tools to be a star.
“Nkemdiche is a rare prospect in many ways,” Hamilton said.
“He was far advanced physically when we first saw him as a sophomore. He possesses a coach’s dream frame and is a plus athlete for his size with natural strength. He is a powerful and quick player featuring strong hands, power lower body and very quick feet. From a technique standpoint, he has been a very coachable player that as terrific as he is now, still has yet to reach his ceiling.”
The last time Clemson received a commitment from a No. 1 overall prospect was in 2008, when defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, ranked No. 1 by ESPN, chose Clemson.
It took Bowers three years to become an impact player at Clemson. Hamilton thinks Nkemdiche could develop faster.
“He is not only an instant impact type of prospect, but a likely freshman All-American-level talent,” Hamilton said.
Clemson will need Nkemdiche to impact early as Clemson has lost a pair of the defensive linemen to the second round of the NFL Draft in each of the last two years and enters 2012 with little experience on the defensive front.
Swinney told The Post and Courier last year he thought the 2013 recruiting class could be his best. But entering Thursday, Clemson had just seven commitments and only one ranking higher than a three-star prospect, according to Rivals.com.
Clemson’s hope is Nkemdiche’s commitment creates positive momentum. Clemson’s class improved to 18th overall per Scout.com, 22nd overall according to Rivals.com and 30th overall, according to 247Sports.com.
Clemson is in the running for two other top 10 talents in Onlney, Md. defensive back Kendall Fuller and Vienna, Ga. defensive tackle Montravius Adams.
Swinney has proven the ability to finish strong, signing Tajh Boyd late in the 2009 cycle and linebackers Stephone Anthony and Tony Steward late in the 2011 cycle.
As with Sammy Watkins and C.J. Spiller, Nkemdiche’s commitment showcases Swinney and his staff’s abilities to sell his program when he gets a prospect on campus. Nkemdiche visited Clemson on Wednesday and Thursday and couldn’t say no.