The Class of 2013 No. 1 overall recruit Robert Nkemdiche has named a top four, which proves that his mind isn't as made up as many of us thought it was.
Since decommiting from Clemson, Ole Miss appeared to be the hands-down favorite to land the No. 1 overall recruit considering that his brother plays there and his mother wants the two to play together.
While the Rebels still have to be considered one of the favorites, Kipp Adams of ESPN.com (subscription required) is reporting that there are three other teams in the running as well:
With the quiet period giving way to the dead period at midnight, Nkemdiche likely will begin his official visits during the week following the Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 4. He said two will go to LSU and Oregon, while he is unsure if he will take one to Alabama, Clemson or Ole Miss.
“I would say that Alabama, Clemson, LSU and Ole Miss are my top four,” Nkemdiche said. “When I make my decision, I want to be sure this time. I might make my decision in January; it just depends on how I feel.”
For those who thought that Ole Miss was a lock, here's what Nkemdiche had to say about the Rebels, via Adams' report:
I would not necessarily say Ole Miss is the team to beat.They are a good program that is in the running. They are in the top three or four, but I do not want to say too much, because I am not sure yet. They are in the top two or three.
It appears as if the actual game of football may be starting to play a bit more of a role in his recruiting process again. If this were just about his family and the chance to play with his brother, Denzel, at Ole Miss, there wouldn't be much of a decision.
The Rebels are building a good program under head coach Hugh Freeze, but it is in no way comparable to Alabama, LSU, Clemson or even Oregon (which may become an interesting school to keep an eye on if he does indeed take an official visit to Eugene).
He would have a legitimate shot to compete for and win the SEC title at Alabama or LSU, and in the process compete for national championships. While Ole Miss is undoubtedly a growing program, even the addition Nkemdiche, plus a few other elite recruits, wouldn't put it near 'Bama or LSU's level for many more years.
Building a championship program is a long and arduous process. Nkemdiche would not see immediate returns if he decided to go to Ole Miss. In fact, he may never see any returns. That simply wouldn't be the case at Alabama or LSU because, at the very least, he would be in the national spotlight on a weekly basis.
It's also interesting to see Clemson back on his list, and Nkemdiche did say the Tigers were keeping in touch, per Adams' report. At the very least, the Tigers can provide the No. 1 recruit with a very competitive program and one that will compete to win in the ACC. It's also a program known for producing elite defensive ends and sending them to the NFL.
The simple fact of the matter is that if his decision does come down to football, Ole Miss doesn't stand a chance against Alabama, LSU and Clemson. With the amount of talent that he possesses and his measurables coming out of high school (6'4'', 285 pounds, running a 4.65-second 40-yard dash, according to 247Sports), it would be foolish not to consider the actual game of football in regards to his decision.
His family has played a major role in the process so far, so it wouldn't be smart to just disregard that at this point, but Ole Miss is no longer the lock that we thought it would be to land Nkemdiche.
Nkemdiche said it himself, and while Freeze's program still has a very good chance, we should no longer consider Ole Miss the favorite to come away with the No. 1 overall recruit's commitment.