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NCAA Football

College Football Recruiting: Clemson Can Keep Top Prospect Robert Nkemdiche if They Offer his Teammate

The Clemson Tigers earned a huge boost to their 2013 recruiting class when the No. 1 prospect in the country Robert Nkemdiche gave them his verbal commitment. Now their big challenge is to keep the top recruit interested in the mean time until national signing day rolls around next February.

In order to do that Nkemdiche lays out a simple soultion: make an offer to one of his high school teammates and he’s in.

“I am waiting on Clemson to offer Ryan; when that happens, it’s locked … it’s a done deal … it’s over,”

His statement to the Atlanta Journal Constitution is referring to his Grayson, GA teammate Ryan Carter. Clemson has already signed two other players from Nkemdiche’s team in the likes of running back Wayne Gallman and cornerback David Kamara but it’s the offer to Carter that would totally convince him that Clemson is where he will play his college ball.

The interesting thing from Clemson’s standpoint is that Carter is not a highly rated recruit, unranked by Rivals, and besides an offer from Ole Miss, he only boasts low-level offers from Arkansas State and Tulane.

With the public stance that Nkemdiche is taking, it’s forcing the Tigers into a tough situation. Do they give in to his request and offer Ryan when he may not be the best player for them just in order to keep Nkemdiche? Or do they stick with their own recruiting plan and offer a better recruit a scholarship and hope that the top recruit stays anyways?

If they offer Carter a scholarship it allows people to believe that Clemson is just catering to Nkemdiche in order to sign him. Without offering his teammate they risk losing the No. 1 overall prospect to another program.

It’s a tough dilemma that head coach Dabo Swinney will face in the upcoming months and it raises questions about package recruiting. Is it right to force programs to offer scholarships to teammates even if those teammates aren’t necessarily good enough to play for that particular team? If that “packaged” recruit does not fit their recruiting plan it backs the team into a corner in order to sign the better player. This could be the sign of a new trend in the recruiting world but it may not be the best thing for the game.

Now, Nkemdiche has said that he wouldn’t completely rule out Clemson if they did not extend an offer to Carter but it would tempt him to look elsewhere. Like I mentioned earlier, Carter has been offered by Ole Miss and that could be a place for Nkemdiche to go if Clemson does not acquiesce to his request. Another factor in favor of Ole Miss is that Nkemdiche’s older brother plays for the Rebels and it seems he wouldn’t mind heading to Oxford.

“If Clemson doesn’t offer Ryan, it would make me look at Ole Miss a little more, it would,” Nkemdiche said. “It’s very important that I have my boys with me.”

The move from high school to college is a big step and sometimes it can be easier with people that are familiar to you in order to ease the transition. If Nkemdiche needs his boys with him Clemson might have to bend a little bit and give in to his suggestion.

The recruiting scene is a brutal place isn’t it?