5 Things That Make 5-Star DE Robert Nkemdiche Special
Robert Nkemdiche has a big decision to make soon with National Signing Day quickly approaching Wednesday. But his journey during the recruiting process could really drive you nuts if you are a fan of one of the schools in the thick of the race for Nkemdiche. So, instead of trying to keep up with it all, let's look at some of the things that have made him the top overall prospect in the first place.
With so much talent in the 2013 recruiting class, what are some of the things that Nkemdiche does that separate him from the pack in this year's talented crop? Why are all of these schools willing to chase a high school kid who hasn't even proven himself at the collegiate level?
Relax and take a break from all of the recruiting hoopla. Let's remind you all of why Nkemdiche is considered the best prospect of the 2013 recruiting class.
His Size Is Already There
Making the transition from high school to college is no easy task. It doesn't matter how talented you are or what recruiting website gave you multiple stars next to your name. One of the major predictors in success at the next level you cannot coach:size; you either have it or you don't. Nkemdiche certainly does.
He is one of a few players who can step on the field right away and contribute immediately for any college team in the country. At 6'4", 285 pounds, he already has his man body to be effective on the defensive side of the ball. Coaches don't have to worry about him getting in the gym early and adding a few more pounds to his upper body, as Nkemdiche can already bench press 340-plus pounds. He already has the height and the build that you would want to see from a player in the front seven.
Many young college kids end up electing to redshirt because they need to bulk up their frame before they are able to withstand playing against the big boys. This isn't the case for Nkemdiche and it only makes him that much more valuable to whatever team he ends up on. Not many players are able to play the moment they step on campus, but Nkemdiche's build should help him become one of the select few to contribute immediately.
Versatility is a big thing with me when it comes to recruits. The more positions he can play, the more valuable he becomes to the team and the more games he can help the team win. With the size factor now out of the way, Nkemdiche can practically line up anywhere on the defensive side of the ball within the front seven.
He could play anywhere on the line in a 4-3 scheme, he could become that next great outside linebacker that is used to create pressure on the opposing quarterback and, as mentioned in the video, offense is also not out of the question.
It is awesome when a great player wants to join your program, but it is even better when that great player gives you options. Being able to do different things with Nkemdiche and him playing every position at a high level, it is no wonder why many consider him to be the top overall recruit in the country.
Wherever you want to put Nkemdiche in your defense, the fact remains that he can get into the backfield in a hurry. Okay, maybe he isn't on the same level as a Jadeveon Clowney, but who is? This kid can still rush the passer with the best of them and he has an arsenal of weapons to give opposing quarterbacks and defensive coordinators nightmares.
Despite his big frame, Nkemdiche gets off the ball with surprising burst. He anticipates the snap count more times than not and he really explodes off the football, usually catching the offensive lineman off guard with how much athleticism this kid has. He uses his hands well and with his combination of size and speed, he can either hit the lineman with a bull rush or a sexy swim move to get to the quarterback.
No matter what scheme he will play in or where he will line up, he will become a matchup nightmare, causing headaches for those that are trying to block him.
He Has a Nose for the Ball
Much like size, instincts is something you either have or you don't. How quickly you are able to break down the play and find out where the ball is could make all of the difference in a play that results in a minimum gain or a possible touchdown.
Nkemdiche does a good job of reacting to the football and is able to adjust when he needs to. He rarely gets fooled (as you can see on this play) and there aren't many times when he isn't able to finish the tackle. He is able to shed blocks well and his location of the football is about as good as you can ask for from a kid who hasn't even taken a snap at the college level.
Nkemdiche and his relentless pursuit and nose for the ball are what make him perhaps the most complete prospect in this 2013 class.
We can talk about all of the traits and athleticism of Nkemdiche until the cows decide to come home, but none of that will mean much if he wasn't committed and willing to improve.
After watching tons of highlight film on this kid, you just don't see him take any plays off. He wants to get in on the action every single play and he will do whatever it takes to put a hit on the ball carrier.
Over the years, we have seen many recruits that had all of the talent in the world, but their motor was a serious question. It has happened to high school recruits and it even has hurt the draft stock of many college kids who were looking to take that next step towards the NFL.
We can drool and rave about everything Nkemdiche brings to the table but, knowing that you can count on him on every play, has to be the most intriguing trait for coaches. I want to know that my players are going to give it their all and bring it on every down. Whatever team lands the Nkemdiche is ensured a 5-star recruit with great tenacity.