LSU Football: What's Next for Tigers Following Robert Nkemdiche's Decision

Alex KayCorrespondent IFebruary 6, 2013

January 4, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Team Highlight Robert Nkemdiche (1) during the second half at the Under Armour All-America high school Game at Tropicana Field. Team Highlight defeated the Team Nitro 16-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As expected, superstar recruit Robert Nkemdiche elected to take his talents to Oxford and recently announced he would be signing a letter of intent to play for Hugh Freeze and the Ole Miss Rebels. 

No matter how you cut it, this is a blow to the LSU’s recruiting class. Coach Les Miles and the rest of Tiger nation were led to believe Nkemdiche was seriously considering playing for the program, but this turned out to be nothing but false hope.

It made perfect sense that Nkemdiche would want to don the Purple and Gold, as the team has a huge hole at defensive end, consistently wins in the tough SEC and would likely make the young man a lot of money via the draft.

In fact, with standout DEs Barkevious Mingo, Sam Montgomery and Lavar Edwards all slated to be selected in the 2013 NFL draft, there is a great chance that Nkemdiche would have been able to earn some early playing time and eventually became a top professional prospect down the line.

He’d also help the program get past its biggest SEC West rival, the Alabama Crimson Tide. Nick Saban’s group consistently has one of the most stout offensive lines in all of collegiate football, so bringing in elite pass rushers—and skilled defensive lineman in general—is a priority.

Unfortunately, coach Les Miles missed out on one of the best; as the 6’4”, 285-pound lineman is joining his brother at Ole Miss. He is, undoubtedly, a top player and arguably was the best 5-star recruit available, but the Tigers will get through this.

LSU still has one of the top 2013 classes, a group that includes numerous 247sports 4-star prospects.

Frank Herron is regarded as the seventh best DE, Michael Patterson is a 3-star commit ranked No. 20 at the defensive end position and Christian LaCouture, regarded as a top-15 DE, is already on campus in Baton Rouge.

Coach Les Miles is going to bring these guys up the LSU way and have them prepared to contribute, compete for the SEC title and possibly even play for a national championship during their years of eligibility.

It would have helped to have Nkemdiche join them, but the Tigers will persevere without the crown jewel of the Class of 2013.