The consensus No.1 player in high school football, Robert Nkemdiche,  today stunned the college football world by committing to Clemson over Alabama or LSU. But why did he decided to play his football in the ‘other’ Death Valley for the ‘other’ Tigers?

The defensive end from Georgia – who is seen by some as another DeMarcus Ware – had 18 sacks in a season for Grayson and he’s pretty useful on the other side of the ball, too. To say he’s ‘physically gifted’ is one of the major understatements of the year. He’s incredibly gifted, and he’s going to frighten the beejesus out of an offensive line near you in college.

Many in the SEC were convinced that he’d go to the ‘big SEC schools’, and were stunned – and some seemed to be a little insulted – by the fact that he’d opted to play in that other nasty, small conference known as the ACC.

Gamecocks fans immediately jumped on Twitter reminding Tigers fans that they still managed to get Jadeveon Clowney (and what signing he became), as an effort to tone down the joy of the Clemson fans, who probably turning the bars orange in celebration.

But seriously, why Clemson? He could have been part of a Nick Saban defence (where more than half of the starting line-up graduated to the NFL in the first or second round). He could have been part of a Les Miles defence (where the crowd’s the noisiest in college football….and they’ve also got great players). He could have been part of, er, Ole Miss (where it’s ‘quite a campus’, so we’re told).

So here are our reasons:

1) His buddy David Kamara, a three-star cornerback from the same school was picked up Clemson. Everyone needs a buddy in college. And not many people are expecting Kamara to turn on his commitment, considering he was far lower on the commitment scale than his partner-in-defense. That definitely gave Clemson an advantage.

2) Playing time. With the way that Saban and Miles recruit, Robert Nkemdiche probably wouldn’t have started as a freshman or even a sophomore. At Clemson – like Clowney had a South Carolina – he can be an immediate star and a game-changer, while at the Crimson Tide, he’d probably have to bide his time a little.

3)  It’s not like Clemson has no history of defensive players  Da’Quan Bowers was drafted last year, while Andre Branch, and Brandon Thompson may start in the first years.

4) Clemson just won an ACC title The Tigers just won an ACC title, which means that Dabo Swinney could give ‘Rob’ the story about the continued success story at Clemson.

BOTTOM LINE: Right now, the recruitment of Robert Nkemdiche is a massive coup for not only Clemson, but the much-maligned ACC in general. But this thing isn’t over. Expect the likes of Saban, Miles and Richt to continue to  recruit HARD for Robert Nkemdiche. And Robert Nkemdiche himself had better pray he doesn’t get injured in his final year of high school football. But if  Nkemdiche wants playing time as a freshman, he’ll probably stay in the ‘other’ Death Valley.

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