5-star defensive end Robert Nkemdiche's No. 1 overall recruit status could be in jeopardy, at least according to the folks over at Rivals.com.
Nkemdiche has been the consensus No. 1 recruit in this 2013 class, and he has the intangibles to back that honor up. He's 6'5'', 260 pounds and has that all-important combination of size, strength and quickness that you look for in elite defensive ends.
There's no doubting that Nkemdiche has the potential to be special, but his ranking as the No. 1 recruit for 2013 could be at stake, according to a report from Rob Cassidy of Rivals.com, who also quotes his colleague Mike Farrell:
Regardless of differing opinions, the place on the top of the mountain remains Nkemdiche's to lose for the next few months. But now, maybe for the first time, the possibility that he surrenders it seems very real.
"As we looked at Nkemdiche and compared him to other players in this class, as well as other top defensive linemen near the top of our previous rankings, the less we were sold that he was a no-brainer," Farrell said.
What are the odds that Nkemdiche loses his No. 1 spot? According to Cassidy's report, it's more than possible, and considering the rest of the talent that makes up the 2013 class, it very well could happen.
If it does, it won't be as much as an indictment on Nkemdiche's talent as it is a testament to the player that does unseat him. Cassidy reports that two recruits that are receiving major attention for the honor are 5-star quarterback Max Browne (USC commit) and 5-star defensive end Carl Lawson (Auburn commit), and both would be more than credible No. 1 recruits.
Browne has what it takes to be a complete quarterback at USC. He has tremendous size at 6'5'', 215 pounds, and he compliments that with a strong, accurate arm. He can stand in the pocket and throw darts or lob deep throws, but where he's most proficient is on the run.
Browne displays the uncanny ability to make things happen once the play breaks down. He's a solid runner out of the pocket, but he's also extremely accurate throwing from the run—and that's what makes him so good.
I once compared him to a young Ben Roethlisberger with the accuracy of Aaron Rodgers, if that tells you how good he has the potential to be. Considering how important his position is, there would be no surprise in him taking the No. 1 spot.
The other recruit mentioned is Lawson, who is slightly smaller defensive end than Nkemdiche at 6'2'', 253 pounds, thus the projection as a weak-side defensive end by Rivals.com. That said, Rivals also has him running an quick 4.7 40 (fast for a defensive end), so he has the speed to be an elite pass-rusher at the college level.
Lawson's big enough to hold his own at the line of scrimmage, but his speed will allow him to be dominant on the edges or in open space.
Rivals couldn't have picked two more worthy recruits to challenge Nkemdiche for No 1.
I would throw 5-star defensive tackle Montravius Adams into the mix as well. He has elite size at 6'3'', 290 pounds, and he compliments that with incredible strength, surprising agility and great technique as a defensive lineman. Adams has the potential to be one of the most dominant defensive lineman in college football, so he's worth bringing up.
Nkemdiche is still Rivals' No. 1 recruit, and until another recruit proves otherwise, that's how it's going to stay. That said, the two recruits mentioned by Rivals do have a great chance to take that No. 1 spot away from him, and there are other recruits, like Adams, who deserve to be mentioned in the conversation as well.
What are the odds Rivals.com names a new No. 1 recruit before all is said and done?
I'd say they're pretty good.