LAWRENCEVILLE - Thursday was a big night for Grayson defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche.
Not because he had a big game, because those are quite common for him, it was because his mother, Beverly Nkemdiche, was in attendance to see him play for the first time this year.
Mrs. Nkemdiche has lived primarily in Nigeria since 2009 as a politician, and doesn't get to see her son play very often.
When she does, however, her son sees it as a time to shine.
"It's a lot of emotion. I feel guilty like I always have to show out, but I always do. It's different when she is watching me," said Nkemdiche. "She never gets to see me play. She is always heating about what I do, but she is here watching in person so I had to show out and have a really good game."
As his mother returns to the states to see her son play, she steps right in the middle of a tumultuous recruitment.
Both Ole Miss and Clemson feel they have an excellent shot at the nation's top ranked player while schools like Florida, Georgia, and Alabama are on the outside hoping to get a shot at landing him.
It is something that is impossible for the five-star prospect to ignore at this time.
"I'm not really sure right now. Right now, it is super hard. I'm just trying to finish the season. Then I'm really going to start worrying about that a lot," he said. "I'm not really losing sleep, but it's always on my mind. I'm the kind of dude that I don't want to let one person down."
On Saturday, Nkemdiche and his mother will be guests of UGA as the Bulldogs take on Ole Miss, and the Grayson standout's brother, Denzel, is a linebacker for the Rebels
Nkemdiche normally has to travel to the Ole Miss campus to see his brother play, but, in this case, he is excited that his brother is coming to him in a sense.
"It's like, when he sees me before the game, its another gear that he gets. When I see him in the locker room and hug him, he just gets chills," he said. "Playing in front of me is the thing he loves doing. When I'm out there watching him he's going to have another gear."
Denzel Nkemdiche leads the Rebels in tackles, tackles for a loss, and is tied for the team lead with two interceptions this season.
The Rebel standout wasn't highly recruited coming out of high school, but his success in just his second season at Ole Miss comes as no surprise to his younger brother.
"Oh I knew he had it. When all these schools weren't recruiting him, I'm like 'they are going to miss out man,'" said Nkemdiche. "They underrated him because he was too small or whatever. They were saying he was going to go because of his brother. He is one of the best football players I know."
After taking a couple of visits to Georgia this spring, Nkemdiche committed to Clemson early in the summer and has yet to visit the Athens again.
While giving the Bulldogs a puncher's chance might be a bit generous, Nkemdiche does think highly of the UGA's Head Man.
"Oh yeah, man. I like Mark Richt. He's a great dude. He's a loving dude. He's a Christian and he's God-fearing," he said. "He's a great guy. It's always good to talk to him. He has good advice to say to you and great things to say."
His mother, who has had a chance to speak to Richt despite not having had the chance to speak with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, also has a high opinion of Richt according to her son.
"Actually her and Coach Richt talked on the phone when I called to talk to him about the game and stuff so he got to talk to my mom," said Nkemdiche. "She liked him. She thought he was a good dude."
While almost all of Bulldog Nation refuses to give Georgia even the smallest of chances to land the state's top ranked player, Nkemdiche isn't ready to go that far just yet.
"Man I don't know. I could fall in love when I get there again. I haven't been there in forever so I don't know," he said.
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