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Vassallo Interviews: Sunny Nkemdiche

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Sunny Nkemdiche, left, and Steve Vassallo

Billy Joel may not have started the fire, but Sunny Nkemdiche has Ole Miss ablaze.

You often look back at a situation and ask “how did we arrive here?” Ole Miss football has had several outstanding recruiting classes thanks to Hugh Freeze and staff. And there is one individual whose two sons have played such a significant part in all of this — Sunny Nkemdiche.

I visited with Sunny this past week in the Grove prior to the Fresno State game. Thankfully (unlike California) we didn’t see flames in the Grove, but we all watched the fire on the playing field shortly thereafter.

HottyToddy.com: Sunny, tell us how the Nkemdiche pilgrimage all began.

Sunny Nkemdiche: While living in Georgia, Denzel decided to take a trip to Ole Miss and simply fell in love with the campus.

HottyToddy.com: Had you personally followed Ole Miss football previously?

Sunny Nkemdiche: Not prior.

HottyToddy.com: When was your first trip to Oxford and the Grove?

Sunny Nkemdiche: Actually it was the Texas game. I liked the fans a great deal and especially the campus.

HottyToddy.com: Robert, as Denzel, has made quite an impact here. What was the definitive reason that brought him to Ole Miss?

Sunny Nkemdiche: Robert and Denzel are very close. Robert saw Ole Miss needed help on defense following the Texas A&M game here several years ago and elected to join his brother.

HottyToddy.com: Since you all are now such a major part of our Ole Miss family, what has been your greatest thrill thus far?

Sunny Nkemdiche: Without a doubt, last year’s Alabama game.

HottyToddy.com: Flipping the coin, what has been the low tide (no pun intended)?

Sunny Nkemdiche: When Denzel was injured this past year at LSU, I felt very badly for him. This affected the entire team and impacted the 2014 season greatly.

HottyToddy.com: What are your thoughts presently?

Sunny Nkemdiche: I am very happy they came here. Both should enter the NFL.

HottyToddy.com: Fast forward three years from today. Where do you believe Denzel and Robert will be?

Sunny Nkemdiche: I believe they will both be in the NFL and will have become great, productive citizens in their respective communities.

HottyToddy.com: Your wife, Beverly, unfortunately cannot make it to many games. When can we expect to see her here next?

Sunny Nkemdiche: Because she is a legislator at the state level in Nigeria, it is impossible for her to be here in person often. She plans to attend the LSU game in November.

HottyToddy.com: I guess the most important item is how have your sons enjoyed Ole Miss?

Sunny Nkemdiche: They have been very pleased here and everything connected with the school.

HottyToddy.com: What are your expectations for this year?

Sunny Nkemdiche: I believe 11-1 is the worst scenario. I fully anticipate this team playing for the national championship.

HottyToddy.com: In the first two games, in addition to Robert being such a great defensive standout, he has shown everyone that he’s pretty good on the offensive side as well.

Sunny Nkemdiche: In high school at Grayson, he played running back; tight end and defensive end.

It’s refreshing when things work out so wonderfully as they have for the Nkemdiche’s. Aside from Denzel’s season ending injury in 2014, the dynamic duo have left a lasting impression on Ole Miss football unlike anything previously. The future great talent that will arrive here because of these two may never be known. But what is known is the impact these great players are having and have had ever since their arrival.


Steve Vassallo

Steve 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. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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