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Robert Nkemdiche suspended for Sugar Bowl, will declare for NFL Draft

Big Rob is bound for the NFL Draft, which means his career as a Rebel is over.

Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Nkemdiche's Ole Miss career is over. Hugh Freeze confirmed to ESPN that he suspended Nkemdiche for the Sugar Bowl. ESPN also reports that Nkemdiche plans to declare for the 2016 NFL Draft.

This mirrors what Nkemdiche said when Ben Garrett of caught up with him at Morgan Freeman's blues club on Saturday night.

"Football season's over," Nkemdiche said. "It's time to do other things. When it's time for me to start training for the (NFL) Combine, I will. I like to get my hands in a lot of different ways creating things and just giving back to the universe."

According to Garrett, Freeze told Nkemdiche he wouldn't be allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl during meetings between the two earlier this week, presumably as discipline for his recent drug arrest. For now, Nkemdiche is "headed to Miami [on Sunday] for some down time with his brother, Bryan, before draft prep."

This bizarre and quintessentially Nkemdiche conversation occurred at Ground Zero in Clarksdale, where Big Rob has been playing a saxophone as part of a blues band with his brother, Denzel.

That he won't play against Oklahoma State on New Year's Day comes as a surprise to no one. There were some that suggested Nkemdiche's fall from a fourth-floor hotel window and subsequent weed possession charge might drop his stock low enough that he'd consider some image refurbishing as a senior, but that was always a pipe dream. Sure, his status as a top-three pick is in jeopardy after that incident, but the Cowboys some NFL team infatuated by his otherworldly size and talent will almost certainly take him early in the first round.

As for the effect of his absence on the Sugar Bowl, I honestly don't think it will be that significant. Yes, Nkemdiche can be one of the most disruptive defenders in the country when he wants to be, but freshman Breeland Speaks has been pretty damn good himself this season. Thanks to stellar play by Speaks, the Rebels hardly missed Nkemdiche when he sat out against then-No. 15 Texas A&M game with a concussion. The Aggies managed just three points and 192 total yards (just 58 on the ground).

When asked earlier this week what SEC offense Oklahoma State is most similar to, Freeze said A&M.

By the way, Rob dropped some epic Nkemdiche-isms to Garrett while they were lounging in Ground Zero:

Music is the connection to everybody. I love football, but football only reaches a certain amount of people. Not everybody can relate to football. Music? Everybody connects to music. Music is played anywhere you go. Music is the sound that everybody can connect to in any way. All different kinds of music, and there's so much different kind of music. Blues, reggae, rap, country. Everybody can relate through music, and you don't have to use words, especially with organic music with instruments. You can make people understand you and really feel you. It's your instrument in this world. How much do you give back? How much are you going to let the world use you in the ways it can use you? Don't section things off. Do everything you want to. Play music. Do football. Write. Rap.


It's so simple, man. My purpose in this world is to show people the light in a way it can be very positive if you open your mind a little bit to let things unfold, instead of sectioning things off and being so closed-minded.


I'm a lot of people, actually. What makes me me is I know me. Not the fake me. Not the ego me. Not the me that everybody wants recognition for. I know the me that's selfless. I know the me that's for everybody else and is working for positivity for the universe. I'm the me that wants to move this world forward and not make us run around in circles. I want people to understand there's no such thing as a stereotype. You can do anything you want in this world. Anything goes. There's no one way to do things. Just like a math problem; there's so many different equations to a certain sum. You can do so many different things. Why not maximize life? I believe in totality; I believe in it wholly. In anything you do, make sure you're total with it. If you're playing the saxophone, if you're playing football -- whatever you're doing, maximize life. That's a cliche, but maximize life. You've got one shot. You can't section things off. You've got to live in the moment.