Things just seem to keep getting worse and worse for the Clemson Tigers in the recruiting process for No. 1 overall commit, 5-star defensive end Robert Nkemdiche.
It suffices to say that Nkemdiche has been wavering a bit on his verbal commitment to the Tigers, and a lot of that seems to be a family matter. His brother, Denzel, plays for the Ole Miss Rebels, and it's become public knowledge that both Denzel and their mother, Beverly, wants Robert to go to Ole Miss as well.
If there was any doubt regarding that thought process, these quotes from Beverly, via an interview with Michael Carvell of ajc.com, should really leave no doubt:
Both Denzel and Robert said you still wish for them to play together in college. Can you speak on that? “Every mother would want that. I don’t want a case where they have games in two different states, and I will be running around like a rooster, or not go to one (game). Every parent would really want that. It’s my wish for it to happen, but I’m not going to put pressure on anybody. If it happens, great. If it doesn’t, OK. But I would really love for them to play together, as well as have the power of two — where two people come together and play as one. That is what I’m looking to see, where Denzel and Robert will come together and play a good game and good defense. But I’m not putting pressure on any one of them.”
She then had this to say about Robert's feelings on Clemson:
Why do you think Robert likes Clemson so much? “I don’t know. I don’t know if he’s so attached to them. I’m not sure. Again, I can’t say. He has not expressed to me that he truly, truly wants to be there. When we talk about it, I will say how important it is for him to play with his brother. I’m not going to hide how I feel about wanting both boys to play together. If that makes me a bad person, so be it. I want my boys to play together, period. He has not expressed too much that he wants to go to Clemson, or that I’m stopping him from doing it. That has not been the case."
On an interesting side note, Mrs. Nkemdiche also said that she loves Alabama and that she stays in touch with their coach on Facebook, so take that how you will Crimson Tide fans.
How are you supposed to take these quotes if you're Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers?
Nkemdiche is still committed to the program, but nothing about his commitment appears final. If his mother has anything to do with it, he'll be playing for Ole Miss next season.
Not only that, but at least from her perspective, Robert doesn't appear all that sold on Clemson himself.
This is bad news for the Tigers.
As is normally the case, when it rains, it pours, and Mrs. Nkemdiche isn't the only family member who has thoughts on where Robert should play.
Denzel Nkemdiche told Carvell and ajc.com that he feels Robert is going to play with him at Ole Miss. Finally, to add just a little more confusion to the situation, Robert himself told Carvell that he won't worry about the recruiting process until after his team's playoff run.
At this point, it's hard to feel anything definite regarding Nkemdiche and his recruiting process besides the fact that Clemson is not looking too good.
His mother obviously wants him to play at Ole Miss with his brother, and Denzel echoes the sentiment.
If family plays any role in his recruiting process—at this point, we know it does—that does not bode well for Clemson. The fact that Nkemdiche's mother doesn't even think he's that sold on the Tigers' program is even more of an indictment. The nation's No. 1 recruit normally has a lot of pressure on him when it comes down to picking the right school, but this is almost unprecedented.
We have barely heard anything positive about Clemson coming out of the Nkemdiche camp in the past few months. In fact, it's been anything but positive for the Tigers.
Either way you slice it, these recent comments from Nkemdiche's family spell bad news for the Clemson Tigers.