WJTV – The Ole Miss athletic department released a statement Sunday morning detailing junior defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche’s suspension for the Sugar Bowl and his declaration for the NFL Draft.
“Last week, our Athletics Director and I informed Robert that he will not be joining us for the bowl game,” head coach Hugh Freeze said in the statement. “In addition, Robert has decided to declare for the NFL Draft, and we will continue to support him as he prepares for the next chapter in his life. I look forward to sharing with NFL general managers and scouts what a unique and talented individual he is. Robert has made an immeasurable impact on our program, and we are forever indebted to him. He and his family will always be part of the Ole Miss family.”
Ole Miss also issued a statement on behalf of Nkemdiche.
“While I wish I could have finished this journey with my team, I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of this program, and I am ready to begin the next phase of my life,” Nkemdiche said in the statement. “I have learned a valuable lesson in the last week, and I look forward to showing NFL personnel that this is not representative of my true character. I want to thank my coaches, my teammates and Rebel Nation for their support these past three years, and I look forward to making them proud for years to come.”
Ben Garrett of the Ole Miss Spirit first reported the news.
This all follows an incident where Nkemdiche, according to the Atlanta Police department, broke through a window at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Buckhead, Georgia, and fell 15 feet over a wall on the night of December 12. He sustained no serious injuries and the Atlanta Police department announced on December 14 that Nkemdiche was charged with possession of marijuana.
Nkemdiche tallied 29 total tackles, seven tackles for loss, and three sacks in his junior season.
As for the his pro prospects, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has Nkemdiche rated as the ninth best player for the 2016 NFL Draft. Kiper ranks him as the best defensive tackle. Nkemdiche is expected to be a first-round pick.
No. 12 Ole Miss will meet No. 16 Oklahoma State in the 2016 Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 at 7:30. It will be televised on ESPN.