Robert Nkemdiche was born in Atlanta, Georgia on September 19, 1994. A defensive lineman for the Ole Miss Rebels, he was named to the SEC All-Freshman team by the league's coaches at the conclusion of the 2013 season.
Nkemdiche attended Grayson High School in Loganville, Georgia and began playing for the Grayson Rams football team at both defensive end and running back. As a junior, he was credited with 59 tackles, 18 sacks, 528 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns and was voted by Rivals.com as the Junior High School Player of the Year. During his senior year, Nkemdiche again managed 59 tackles on defense, including 12 tackles for loss, while also registering seven sacks. On offense, he rushed for 235 yards and 10 touchdowns and the team went on to win the Region 8-6A Championship.
At the end of his senior year at high school, Nkemdiche was an All-American selection by Under Armour, USA Today and SuperPrep. Additionally, he was named as the Defensive Player of the Year by the Gwinnett Daily Post. A consensus five star recruitment prospect, he was also the consensus number one overall recruit in his high school class. After initially committing to Clemson, he changed his mind and committed to the University of Mississippi.
Upon enrolling at Mississippi, Nkemdiche was tipped to see action as a true freshman and was projected to be one of the breakout freshman players of the year. He went on to feature in 11 games for the Ole Miss Rebels in total, starting ten of them and missing two games as a result of a hamstring injury. Six of his starts came at defensive end, while four came at defensive tackle. Altogether, Nkemdiche posted 34 tackles, including 25 solo tackles, two pass breakups and two sacks. His eight tackles for losses ranked third on the team and his average of 0.73 tackles for a loss per game ranked second amongst SEC freshman for the 2013 season. Furthermore, on offense, he was able to rush for 32 yards off five carries.
Following his successful freshman year, Nkemdich was named as a Freshman All-American by multiple sources and was selected by the league's coaches as part of the SEC All-Freshman team.
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