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HAMMOCK: Interesting week for Grayson's Nkemdiche

Photo: Andrew McMurtrie . Robert Nkemdiche and the Grayson Rams hope to beat Lowndes tonight and continue their run for a state title.

Photo: Andrew McMurtrie . Robert Nkemdiche and the Grayson Rams hope to beat Lowndes tonight and continue their run for a state title.

Grayson's spring football game was supposed to be a media circus. With Robert Nkemdiche's expected college decision coming that night, school officials were bracing for an onslaught of reporters.

The nation's consensus No. 1 football prospect delayed his decision instead, leaving most of us thinking another high-profile announcement ceremony was in the future. But Nkemdiche, a 6-foot-5, 270-pound defensive lineman coveted by every school in the country, surprised everyone a week ago with his private commitment (which became public rapidly) to Clemson while on a visit to the ACC school.

I like the way he made his decision --quietly.

Too often these days, star athletes like to milk the spotlight for all its worth when picking a college. The lengthy ceremonies --Google the one for Tony Parker of Miller Grove when he picked UCLA --are all about me, me, me.

That Nkemdiche was able to commit without any of that hubbub was pretty cool.

But don't think the discussions about Nkemdiche and his college options are over. Those will continue until he signs his letter of intent with Clemson, and possibly afterward.

The Internet was quickly abuzz last week with opinions, rumors and the like about Nkemdiche. There were theories that Grayson head coach Mickey Conn was hired as a coach at Clemson (maybe he's taking the spot Buford coach Jess Simpson took last year -- oh yeah, that was a rumor, too).

People think Conn steered Nkemdiche to Clemson to play for his old roommate at Alabama, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney.

Alabama fans are possibly the most shocked. They assumed that Nkemdiche was a silent commitment from way back. And how could Nick Saban lose out on a top recruit he really wanted? A defensive lineman at that? Wouldn't Conn's ties as an Alabama player help, too?

Ole Miss fans were just as hopeful that Nkemdiche would join his older brother Denzel, a current Rebel. Georgia and LSU fans were equally optimistic.

Those hopes and message board talks won't cease just because Nkemdiche made a commitment. Fans of other schools will wonder if he will change his mind and Clemson backers will hope that he stays committed.

Nkemdiche says he loves Clemson, which I'm sure is true. Two of his high school teammates, Wayne Gallman and David Kamara, preceded him in committing to the Tigers. He won't be playing in college football's most competitive league, the SEC, but he still will be playing in a top program that has produced its share of top defensive linemen.

But more than anything, I hope Nkemdiche chose a college that makes him happy. For a young kid, he's been under a great deal of pressure over the past year or more. Hopefully he's content with his choice, so he can enjoy his senior year of high school.

Will Hammock can be reached via email at His column appears on Thursdays. For archived columns, go to For Hammock's blog, go to