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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Nkemdiche: ‘I’m not turning back now’

In February, Denzel Nkemdiche looked like he was headed to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

Nkemdiche’s grades were the culprit, forcing the talented defensive back to begin his collegiate playing career somewhere other than in the Southeastern Conference.
Recently, however, Nkemdiche began to get good news with a improved test scores and following his visit to Ole Miss last week he committed to the Rebels.

“I’ve just worked real hard and got all As and Bs last semester and all Bs this semester and that brought my GPA up to where I’d qualify,” he said during a brief interview on Tuesday, adding that he expects to sign his scholarship papers either today or Thursday.

The next step for Nkemdiche will be to enroll in summer school, which he said he plans to do on June 1.

That date is important for the Ole Miss coaching staff because since Nkemdiche (pronounced kim-DEE-chee) did not sign during the designated signing period, he could still be wooed by other programs.

Georgia is attempting to do just that, although Nkemdiche maintains he’s not interested.

“Georgia actually called me (Monday) night because their coordinator is trying to get me out there this weekend,” Nkemdiche said, “but I got my mind set and I’m not turning back.”
Ole Miss sort of lucked out in getting Nkemdiche to take an official visit.

According to Nkemdiche, Ole Miss coach Mike Markuson was actually at Grayson — located in Loganville, Ga., approximately 35 miles northeast of Atlanta — checking out upcoming seniors when Rams coach Mickey Conn brought him up.

After seeing a highlight reel of Nkemdiche, he was pulled out of class and not long after was planning to take a visit to Ole Miss.

The visit sold Nkemdiche on the Rebels.

“They recruited me the right way and got me out here as soon as possible,” he said. “It just felt right. I loved it down there. It’s a beautiful campus, beautiful landscaping and beautiful scenery. I felt loved down there and like the coaching staff was a bunch of great guys.”

Nkemdiche also liked that with the way Ole Miss’ depth chart is situated, he’ll get a chance to play right away.

“That’s the biggest thing,” he said. “They want me to come in and play cornerback or safety. They’re going to work me in at both and see where I best fit.”

Nkemdiche started at safety during his sophomore and junior seasons with the Rams, but switched to outside linebacker this season out of necessity.

According to the Gwinett Daily Post, Nkemdiche recorded three interceptions, 101 tackles and eight sacks this season. (May 25, 2011, Page 6)

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