- Kipp Adams, Reporter, RecruitingNation
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LOGANVILLE, Ga. -- A day after Loganville (Ga.) Grayson coach Mickey Conn confirmed that Robert Nkemdiche, the nation's No. 1 high school football recruit, had decommitted from Clemson, Nkemdiche discussed his decision for the first time.
Many pointed to his mother, Beverly Nkemdiche, as the driving force in the decision to back away from the pledge he made to Clemson in June, but Robert Nkemdiche said Friday night that wasn't the case.
"Decommitting was not a family thing; it was my decision," said Nkemdiche, a 6-foot-5, 265-pound defensive end. "My parents did not even know. It was just different things about how I was feeling. I felt like decommitting gave me a chance to back up and really pay attention to other schools without people saying I am cheating on Clemson."
The call was made to the Tigers' coaching staff Sunday, with Nkemdiche leaving the door open for a possible recommitment. Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi are believed to be the only other teams still seriously under consideration, but all signs point toward Ole Miss as the top team now on his list.
"Clemson was surprised, but there was not much they could do," Nkemdiche said. "They just said to keep them in my mind. Of course I am still considering them."
After playing in front of Ole Miss coaches Wesley McGriff and Chris Kiffin on Friday night, Nkemdiche and his parents are headed to Oxford, Miss., to watch Ole Miss host Vanderbilt on Saturday night. Nkemdiche's brother, Denzel, is a freshman linebacker for the Rebels. Beverly Nkemdiche said in the past that she wants her sons to attend the same college, and there is speculation a commitment could come as soon as this weekend.
Robert Nkemdiche said that's not likely.
"As for this weekend, we are going to see my brother and just chill as a family," Nkemdiche said. "I am probably not going to make that decision any time soon. I am not sure I will take all five officials. My decision will most likely come sometime in January or whenever I feel I am ready. I just have to sit back, pray and see how I feel."
Nkemdiche reiterated that his mother will not have the final say in his recruitment. Beverly Nkemdiche is set to return next week to Nigeria, where she works as a legislator in her native state. She'll be back with Robert to watch him play in the Under Armour All-America Game in less than two months.
"This decision will be mostly about me," Robert Nkemdiche said. "People think it is my family and my mom doing everything, but I am still making most of my decisions. I made the decision to decommit on my own, and my commitment will be the same."
After a hectic week, Nkemdiche was able to help his team to a 41-13 win over regional rival Brookwood on Friday night. Nkemdiche said he's doing his best to put recruiting on the back burner as he leads the Rams into the playoffs.
"I just have to keep my mind straight and ignore everything," Nkemdiche said. "People thought it would wear on me with the news coming out, but I was all right. I have a different mindset right now. I am not worried about any colleges right now. I am just worried about Grayson football."