CLEMSON ó Thereís an old saying in recruiting that states if you want to win a recruit, you win the support of the recruitís mother. If thatís the case, Clemson has some work to do.
The mother of the nationís No. 1 recruit, Robert Nkemdiche, a Clemson commitment, said in an interview with the Atlanta-Journal Constitution on Thursday her wish remains for her sons to play together at Ole Miss. Robertís older brother, Denzel, plays for the Rebels.
She said her second choice for Robert, a 6-5, 270-pound defensive end, is to play at Alabama.
Beverly Nkemdiche said she has communicated with Alabama coach Nick Saban on Facebook but has not spoken with Clemson coach Dabo Swinney.
Beverly lives in Nigeria, where she is a state legislator. Her husband, Sunday, and son live in suburban Atlanta. She is in the United States for several weeks to watch her sons play. She said she does not plan on traveling to Clemson and questions her sonís level of commitment to Clemson.
ďI donít know if heís so attached to them. Iím not sure. I canít say,Ē Beverly told the AJC. ďHe has not expressed to me that he truly, truly wants to be there.Ē
She indicated she will not pressure Robert, but she will continue to make her preference known.
ďTo me, a verbal commitment that they said he made to Clemson is nothing,Ē Beverly said.
ďA family should come together, and I left it at that. Come February, heís going to make up his mind and sign.
ďWhen we talk about it, I will say how important it is for him to play with his brother. Iím not going to hide how I feel about wanting both boys to play together. If that makes me a bad person, so be it. I want my boys to play together, period.Ē
Robert told The Post and Courier last month that his motherís preference has been ďtugging at my heart. Iím not going to lie, she does have say so in my college choice, but Iíve got to do what Iíve got to do. This has been super hard on me.Ē
Nkemdiche told ESPN earlier this fall that he was not going to waver in his commitment to Clemson.
ďIím going to Clemson,Ē he said. ďI want to make an impact and in three years go to the NFL. Thatís what Iím going to do. You can put that in bold, too.Ē
Duke QB will play
Duke starting quarterback Sean Renfree is listed as probable on the Duke injury report, but seven Blue Devils are listed as doubtful or unlikely to play against Clemson on Saturday. Among the injured are starting defensive end Kenny Anunike and starting linebacker Kelby Brown. Renfree, who is recovering from a concussion, is fourth in the ACC in passing efficiency.
Clemson is in good shape health-wise and expects to have starting cornerback Bashaud Breeland back.
Swinney says Clemson will need to have one of its best tackling games of the season Saturday as Duke does a good job of getting its skill players in space. Those skill players include receiver Conner Vernon, who has 3,436 career receiving yards and is closing in on the ACC record held by former Florida State star Peter Warrick (3,517).
Clemson might second guess not redshirting linebacker Tony Steward (41 snaps) and tackle Isaiah Battle (60 snaps). Both are athletic marvels but have played sparingly this season.