May 15, 2011

Georgia cornerback plans visit to Ole Miss

Just weeks ago, Denzel Nkemdiche thought he was going to have to spend the next two years of his life at a junior college.

Then things changed. Nkemdiche, a 6-foot, 206-pound cornerback from Loganville (Grayson), Ga., learned that he had a strong chance to qualify after all.

When colleges learned that Nkemdiche might be available now rather than later, those with a vacancy and a need moved in. Ole Miss, which lost cornerbacks Jermaine Whitehead and Floyd Raven to Auburn and Texas A&M, respectively, on signing day, has made a strong push.

"My grades are about to come through," Nkemdiche said Sunday, acknowledging that while he's still waiting on his SAT scores, he's now confident he will meet qualifying requirements to play Division I football this fall. "It feels good now. It was kind of a teaching thing. I learned a lesson from it. I'm excited."

Nkemdiche said he will visit Ole Miss Friday. The Rebels, he said, have been aggressive in their pursuit.

"They said that once my grades come through, they want to sign me on the spot," Nkemdiche said. "I really don't know too much about Ole Miss. I know it's a nice place. I know Oxford is a nice city. … As a true freshman, they're telling me there's a possibility I could fight for a starting spot at cornerback."

Nkemdiche's decision is made even more interesting because of the probability that his younger brother, Robert Nkemdiche, will be one of the nation's most coveted prospects in 2013. The younger Nkemdiche, a 6-foot-5, 255-pound defensive end, has dominated some camps already this spring, attracting major interest from programs all over the country.

Denzel Nkemdiche said he and his brother are "definitely" going to play together.

"He'll have input on it," Denzel Nkemdiche said. "I'm kind of been taking care of him for the longest. We just want to stay in the SEC."

If the Ole Miss visit goes well, Nkemdiche said he'll sit down with his family and make a decision.

"It's definitely something I'm going to think about and something I have been thinking about," Nkemdiche said.

Nkemdiche said Georgia and Mississippi State are also involved in his recruiting at this point. Mississippi State assistant Greg Knox, Nkemdiche said, will be at Grayson High School Tuesday.

"Georgia is also saying once my grades come through, if I want to come there, I can sign," Nkemdiche said. "It's something that is out there. They haven't really talked about playing time yet. We'll see about that."

Meanwhile, Nkemdiche is working hard to make sure he's ready to take advantage of this unexpected opportunity.

"Right now, I'm trying to perfect my coverage," Nkemdiche said. "I have pretty good man (skills), but I want to improve my ball skills a little bit. My speed and my quickness and my man-on-man coverage are pretty good. I have a good sense of where the ball is and I'm good at feeling out plays."

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