Could fear of backlash be the only thing that's keeping No. 1 overall recruit Robert Nkemdiche committed to the Clemson Tigers?
According to quotes from his mother, via a report from Neal McCready of RebelGrove.com, Nkemdiche appears scared of what would happened if he changed his commitment:
Yet as recently as Thursday night, following his team's 48-0 win over Archer, Robert maintained his commitment to the Tigers.
"He's going to continue to say that. He is so scared of the media," Beverly said. "He said, 'Mom, if I say anything else now, everyone will come down on me.' He's so afraid in his mind, honestly. That's what I've gathered."
This very well could be the furthest into Nkemdiche's thought process that we've been so far, and it's a statement that could and should send ripples all throughout the college football recruiting world.
We've known for a while now that Beverly Nkemdiche, Robert's mother, has been against his commitment to Clemson. She wants her sons to play together at Ole Miss (Robert's brother, Denzel, plays linebacker for the Rebels), and she's been very open about that.
Until now, the speculation regarding a flip has centered on whether or not the pressure from his family would be enough to get him to change his commitment. But this quote adds a whole new dimension to this equation.
Could it be that Nkemdiche actually does want to decommit from Clemson, but he hasn't yet because he's afraid of the backlash from media and Clemson fans? At least according to these quotes from Mrs. Nkemdiche via McCready's report, it appears as if that could be the case.
This brings up the question: Would Nkemdiche still be committed to Clemson if there wasn't as much media hype surrounding him as the No. 1 overall recruit?
I believe the answer to that is a resounding no.
In the past few months, almost everything we've heard about Nkemdiche and his recruiting process has been pretty anti-Clemson and very much pro-Ole Miss. The thing that was keeping Clemson ahead in the process was that Nkemdiche remained committed to Dabo Swinney's program and that he publicly affirmed that commitment.
If this is true though and he's actually feeling pressured not to decommit because of the potential outburst and media frenzy it would cause, that all but nullifies any positives Clemson had going for it up until this point.
Mind you, this is all speculation at this point based off of McCready's report. But if true, Nkemdiche's commitment to Clemson seems to be an empty one.
A commitment or relationship based off of fear is not a real one, and eventually it will dissolve.
There's no doubt that Clemson fans would be irate if Nkemdiche decommitedd, and we all know that fans tend to act irrationally when they are upset. There's also no doubt that a Nkemdiche flip would cause a field day in regards to the media, and not everything that would be said about him would be positive.
Where should Nkemdiche end up?
Nkemdiche would create quite a stir if he decommitted, but it's certainly not worth sticking with something that may not feel right.
At this point, it's hard to tell exactly how this will end up. But Nkemdiche's mother has been the most honest source in regards to what exactly is going on with her son's commitment. I dare say she has some credibility, so if she says that he's scared of everybody coming down on him if he says anything else, I have to believe that it's true.
From there, it's not a stretch to say that fear may be the only thing keeping Nkemdiche committed to the Tigers. And like I said, a commitment based on fear will eventually dissolve.