Thursday, July 7, 2022

Vassallo: The Rise of Robert Nkemdiche

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Robert Nkemdiche is a force in the middle of the Rebels defense.

The Ole Miss football team is the talk of not only the town (Oxford), but the talk of the nation.
Coach John Vaught proved many seasons ago that great teams are anchored with great defenses. Hugh Freeze’s 2014 Rebels can attest to that!
With so many great players on the defensive unit it’s difficult to single any one player out. However, Robert Nkemdiche is developing quickly into what may be the greatest defensive lineman in Ole Miss history.
The stats “bear” this out as Ole Miss leads the SEC in giving up the fewest yards per play. With this level of performance, there is considerable less stress on the offense due to a number of factors including field position; the amount of time that the opposing defenses must stay on the field; and the fact the “D” can also score as they did against A&M not once but twice. This was the actual difference in the game.
The brothers are a pair to be reckoned with on the field. / Photo by Amelia Camurati
The brothers are a pair to be reckoned with on the field. / Photo by Amelia Camurati

Robert is not only a great player on the field, he’s a leader off the field as well. I have had the pleasure to be around him a number of times and I cannot say enough “good” things about his character; politeness; and so on. He carries himself like a first team All American is supposed to. Robert and Denzel have done more to raise the bar for Ole Miss football than any family since the Kinards, Pooles and Mannings. The fact that both young men are contributing here at the same time is refreshing and exciting!
Turning to the Tennessee Vols, this young program is struggling, but improving with each game. Prior to 1992, we played each other 59 times, but only a handful since. I recall my student days when we would play the trifecta with them (Knoxville; Jackson; Memphis) but never in Oxford! They finally got wise in Vol Land and figured out that they were giving us 2 out of 3 home games and ended that scenario after a few Memphis losses.
This year’s matchup finds us at No. 3 in the nation where they were ranked in 1969. This time, however, we’re in Oxford opposed to Knoxville or Jackson. Should we KO them again with a 38-0 “mule type beating,” you can bet that Robert Nkemdiche will be right in the thick of it! When you see Robert and Denzel in the Grove on Saturday along with our entire team, please let them know how proud we are of them and how happy we are they chose Ole Miss. Every time I hear their name, I smile automatically, almost as fast as Robert rushes opposing quarterbacks.


 
Steve-Vassallo-Photo-Oct-20131-150x150Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. In addition, he is a certified economic and community developer and currently, a highly successful leader in the real estate business with Premier Properties of Oxford. Steve’s lifelong dream has been to live in Oxford full-time. “I am now living my dream daily as is my wife Rosie, who works with the Oxford Chamber of Commerce,” Steve said. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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