On the top of everyone's minds in the Clemson world seems to be Robert Nkemdiche right now. This is the kind of intense drama we expected from the beginning and it comes with the territory of recruiting the number one player in the country. It is very important that Clemson fans grow some thick skin, man up and remain positive and civil throughout the process. Cutting down a recruits mom doesn't help the coaching staff at this point.
What do we know at this point? First Nkemdiche loves Clemson and we shouldn't forget that. Nkemdiche did not decommit from Clemson and told everyone that it was just a rumor but now Maxpreps is reporting that he has and ESPN just sent out a text. Dabo is personally in charge of Robert's recruitment and is aware of everything going on--the staff isn't going to be blindsided by anything they were apparently informed of this latest development on Sunday. Mike Farrell of Rivals.com reported rather condescendingly (and erroneously):
Nkemdiche and his mother have said they won't make a decision until Signing Day. And it appears that Alabama, if it can get him (and his mom) on campus, could be a bigger threat to Ole Miss than even Clemson, where Beverly said she is not visiting. What is truly puzzling about this whole thing is the claim by Nkemdiche's mother that she has never been contacted by Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. That is simply puzzling and clearly a huge oversight in this process.
This is just sloppy journalism and is inexcusable at this point. Why hasn't Nkemdiche's mom been contacted, you ask? Because she has been--by phone, by email, by Facebook, by hand written letter. Placing a call to the staff (or even me) would get you that information. The question should be when was she contacted and there are conflicting opinions, reports on this. Nkemdiche's mom says she wasn't told about the commitment (or she wasn't allowed to sanction the commitment) when Robert made the decision. Obviously living in Nigeria made that difficult for the staff. More importantly though, Ole Miss gets to communicate freely because they have a brother at the school. As a parent not knowing the rules and intricacies of NCAA regulations on recruiting, it is very understandable to feel that Ole Miss is showing you a lot of love and Clemson is not. Clemson's hands are tied and the staff can only make contact during certain time periods.
The Alabama stuff is pure speculation and conjecture. The coaches talk to Beverly on Facebook a lot and she likes the prestige of Bama. Robert has shown no interest. What you want to watch out for are the boosters in the equation. There is one at Ole Miss that everyone knows that you don't want to get involved.
What is working in our favor? Robert is close to his friends who are very committed to Clemson. Wayne Gallman looks better and better this season and will make a contribution at Clemson. He could have been the player of the game against Archer. Both Gallman and Kamara will keep their scholarships regardless of what Robert does and they are coming to Clemson. Conn is still the coach at Grayson and the folks at Grayson, even the community, think highly of Clemson and our fans (wouldn't hurt for more people to show up at their games!) and would rather see Robert at Clemson than Ole Miss. Again, Dabo is personally overseeing Nkemdiche's recruitment and he has a personal relationship with Robert. They are open with each other so there are no secrets or surprises here.
This weekend is the last that Nkemdiche's mom will be here (she leaves on Tuesday) and once this storm blows over then we will have a clearer picture of what is going on. Right now this is being called a family decision and we will see if that remains the case. If that does it is not great news for Clemson. Everything I am hearing internally says Robert is still sold on going to Clemson (perhaps the decommitment is a way for Robert to lessen the pressure and focus on football right now but that is speculation right now from me and my feeling is that he might have decommitted, talked to Dabo about it and stayed with Clemson but now this is coming out). The reason why silent commits are sometimes more advantageous.
I will let you know when I get more solid information. Robert isn't talking to anyone right now. The important thing to remember is that we are not out of this in any way and Clemson fans need to remain supportive and not jump off a cliff. Just another chapter in the Nkemdiche Chronicles.
Other recruiting notes:
Adams will be in Clemson with his mom this week. We should all feel good about the quiet nature of this recruitment. We will be rolling out the red carpet and are still in a great position despite a recent run by Georgia.
DeMarcus Bud Robinson will also be on campus after visiting Notre Dame last week. The staff will try to solidify his commitment. He has not been to a game at Clemson yet so a great homecoming atmosphere should help us.
Also expect another big time recruit to be on campus. I will release his name as we get closer to gameday (he can be somewhat fickle so that gives you a hint).
So we are close enough for me to say that Tramel Terry and MacKensie Alexander are expected to be in the Valley this week. Think about how well our top recruits fill the holes in our team for next year DE (Nkemdiche), CB/KR (Alexander), DT (Adams, Pagano), RB w/ departure of Ellington (Terry as RB/WR/CB). And lets be clear--signing all of these guys is no longer a long shot or wishful thinking. We are in the final two or three for all of them. (throw in Crowder for Oline). Our recruiting future is still very bright.