CLEMSON — The ‘as Nkemdiche turns’ recruiting soap opera will likely not conclude until February’s signing day, but Clemson’s chances to sign the nation’s No. 1 recruit are diminishing.
Grayson High football coach Mickey Conn confirmed to The Post and Courier on Thursday that the five-star defensive end has backed off his commitment to Clemson.
Conn told 247Sports.com that Robert Nkemdiche withdrew his pledge last Sunday.
“It was a family decision he made with his mom and dad,” Conn said.
Nkemdiche has faced increasing pressure from inside his family to play at Ole Miss, where his older brother, Denzel, is a redshirt freshman linebacker.
There had been an increasingly shaky commitment from Nkemdiche toward Clemson coinciding with Nkemdiche’s mother’sreturn from Nigeria, where she is a legislator.
Nkemdiche’s mother returned to the U.S. for a brief vacation last month.
Last week, Nkemdiche’s mother said her son’s verbal commitment to Clemson was meaningless. She also said he had no plans to visit Clemson and stressed that her preference was for her sons to play together at Mississippi.
TigerIllustated.com reported Beverly demanded her son decommit before she returned to Nigeria, which she is expected to do in the next several days.
The 6-5, 270-pound prep star was the prize of Clemson’s 2013 commitment list and was projected to fill a significant need for Clemson as a potential impact pass rusher.
Clemson’s class remains deep and talented without Nkemdiche and fell only from 12 to 14 in ESPN’s Class of 2013 rankings. Still, the decommitment does not rule out Clemson from signing him in February.
Conn told reporters Nkem-diche is still “interested” in Clemson. Ole Miss is thought to be the favorite for his services and Alabama, LSU and Oregon are also in play.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is regarded as a top salesman on the recruiting trail and former Clemson star C.J. Spiller’s mother did not want Spiller to attend Clemson.
The key for Clemson might be getting Nkemdiche to visit Clemson again to remind him of why he originally committed to the Tigers.
Two of his high school teammates — Wayne Gallman and David Kamara — remain committed to Clemson.
Terps lose star receiver
Maryland (4-5, 2-3 ACC) is a 31-point underdog entering Saturday’s game at No. 10 Clemson (8-1, 5-1) and the Terps’ challenge became more difficult Thursday.
Injury-depleted Maryland announced freshman star receiver Stefon Diggs (ankle) will not play Saturday. Maryland has also declared running back Wes Brown (ankle) out for the game.
The Terps have 26 players listed on their injury report.
Despite Maryland losing all four of its quarterbacks to season-ending knee injuries and being forced to now start a linebacker at quarterback in Shawn Petty, Diggs has managed to catch 43 passes for 721 yards this season. Diggs has also been a factor in the return game.
Maryland is down to three scholarship receivers.
ACC, Notre Dame meet
ACC officials met with Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. this week to begin scheduling future football dates. Notre Dame agreed to play five football games per year against ACC schools as part of an agreement reached earlier this year. The Irish are expected to play each ACC team at least once every three years but ACC commish John Swofford told CBS “that can change as we go through a cycle.”