Conn not surprised with Nkemdiche's decision


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Clemson will use Nkemdiche as a defensive end and short-yardage running back.
Clemson will use Nkemdiche as a defensive end and short-yardage running back.

Many people were surprised when the nation’s No. 1 recruit, Loganville (Ga.) Grayson defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche Robert Nkemdiche
Defensive End
6-5, 265
Loganville, GA

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, gave his verbal commitment to Clemson and head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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Thursday afternoon.

His head coach at Grayson, Mickey Conn, wasn’t so surprised, saying that the commitments of fellow Grayson players and good friends David Kamara David Kamara

5-11, 185
Loganville, GA

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and Wayne Gallman Wayne Gallman
Running Back
6-1, 195
Loganville, GA

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played a big role. Gallman had committed earlier in the recruiting cycle, while Kamara [Nkemdiche’s best friend] gave his commitment late Wednesday.

Conn also said that Clemson’s family atmosphere played a big role.

“I was a little surprised, but in many ways and overall I wasn’t,” Conn told TigerNet Friday. “I think Dabo and his staff are a great staff, and they made them all feel like they were at home. With his best buddy David committing and Wayne Gallman committing, he wanted to be with his friends in a family atmosphere and he felt like Clemson was that kind of place for him.”

Conn drove Nkemdiche and Kamara up to Clemson from Loganville for the visit, and said it really didn’t take long for Nkemdiche to realize he had found a home.

“He just wanted me to take him up there, and once he got there, he said, ‘This is the place I want to be.’ I told him to make sure he was sure,” Conn said. “I told him this was a big decision, and then I know that Dabo talked to him about it to make sure. Sure enough, he made the decision to commit.”

Nkemdiche’s recruitment won't stop with his verbal to the Tigers – all of the big-time programs covet his size, speed and athleticism – but Conn said he doesn’t know what to expect at this point.

“I really don’t know,” he laughed. “I’ve never coached the number one player in the country before. I am finding out about all of this as I go along.”

Conn said he knows that schools will still be going after Nkemdiche with a vengeance, but he doesn’t see him changing his mind.


“There are a lot of things that can happen during the course of a football season,” he said. “Things change. But I think he made his choice, and he loves it there. I think this is what he really wants to do, and as long as things stay the same, he will stick to it.”

Conn said the Tigers are getting an NFL-caliber talent.

“They are getting a player that can do several things,” he said. “I know they want him as a defensive end, and they are also going to play him at running back in short-yardage situations. He is an impact player immediately. They are looking at a guy that, in my opinion, will be a first-round draft choice in the NFL after three years.”

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