Robert Nkemdiche has not only seen Dabo Swinney's raise, but he has proffered a re-raise of his own.
Robert Nkemdiche is a monster. The top recruit of the 2013 class is a strongside defensive end from Loganville, Georgia. According to Scout, the 6'4" 270 lbs. Nkemdiche has "uncommon strength and power" to go with "feet quick enough that he could be a viable running back prospect."
As such, Nkemdiche can literally handpick where he wants to play collegiate football. In March, for whatever reason, Nkemdiche verbally committed to Clemson over the likes of Alabama/LSU. I don't follow recruiting, but I'd have to imagine it was quite the coup for Clemson fans; however, it appears his commitment comes with strings attached.
According to the Atlanta Constitution-Journal, Nkemdiche's commitment to Clemson will be a "done deal" once Clemson offers his high school teammate, Ryan Carter, a 5'10" defensive back with offers from Ole Miss, Georgia State, Tulane, Arkansas State, and Southern Miss. Obviously, there appears to be a talent gap between the two based on the quality of offers alone. (No offense to Arkansas State and Georgia State.)
Normally, I'm against grandstanding in the recruiting process, and I'm always suspicious of any recruit who seems to be relishing in the limelight a little too much, but here, I applaud Robert Nkemdiche. It's about time these blue chip recruits start using the leverage created by their skill set against these millionaire coaches.
I can only imagine the praise which Dabo Swinney lavishly placed at the feet of Robert Nkemdiche when the defensive end visited Clemson in March. College coaches sweet talking recruits is almost as old as the sport itself, so I'm glad that a recruit has finally decided to see how much these sugarcoated words are actually worth.
Let's say, for the sake of argument, some major SEC player gets engulfed in some sort of Jim Tressel-esque scandal. (And if Tressel can be toppled, anybody can.) Then, let's say that southern prestigious program makes an offer to Dabo Swinney (whom in this hypothetical wins the ACC again and is in the mix for BCS Championship game inclusion). Does that school's AD even get to finish his sentence before Swinney accepts? I don't think he would.
College coaches' contracts aren't worth the paper they're printed on. Look at how Lane Kiffin stole off into the night at Tennessee. Look what Todd Graham did to Rice and Pitt. Not to say Dabo Swinney is of this ilk, but how many men out there would turn down a job offer with more money and more prestige than the one they currently have? (Answer: not many.)
Unlike the man he is committing to, Nkemdiche will actually be bound to the piece of paper he puts his name to on National Signing Day. If the coach who recruited him leaves, and Clemson were to hire a scrub to replace him, it's not like Nkemdiche can ride off into the night a la Kiffin. If he does, he is penalized a year of his eligibility. (And that assumes Clemson would release him from his scholarship.) I don't recall Kiffin having to sit out a year before he returned to coaching.
Nkemdiche's leverage will never be as high as it is now, so it's wise for him to use it before committing to a volatile program like Clemson. I can only imagine the sweet-nothings whispered into Nkemdiche's ears at Clemson, so if they truly do value him as much as they've pretended, offering somebody Nkemdiche calls a "brother" (with division one talent), shouldn't be that big of a deal.
I hope all other elite recruits pay attention to this. I'm sure stuff like this would make the likes of Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney groan, but I'm of the mind-set that that is a good thing for college football. For too long these coaches have ruled over their kids like a tinpot dictator over some shitty mid-eastern oligarchy. Hopefully this is a new way to tip the scales back in favor of the players; you know, the ones risking body and blood for our entertainment.