Mississippi's Robert Nkemdiche will not play in Sugar Bowl
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) Mississippi defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche has played his last college football game.
The Rebels star, who was recently charged with marijuana possession after a 15-foot fall at an Atlanta hotel, will not play in the Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma State on Jan. 1. The school said he will enter the NFL draft as a junior.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said in a statement Sunday that Nkemdiche was told last week that he ''will not be joining us'' for the bowl game. He added that the school will ''support him as he prepares for the next chapter in his life.''
Freeze said he will share information with NFL general managers and scouts on Nkemdiche, ''a unique and talented individual'' who has made an ''immeasurable impact on our program.''
The 6-foot-4, 296-pounder is a second-team All-American and a possible top-10 draft pick. He has 29 tackles, seven for losses, including three sacks. He also scored three touchdowns for Ole Miss, which used him at fullback at times.
''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,'' Nkemediche said in a 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.''
Police say the 21-year-old Nkemdiche on Dec. 12 broke a hotel-room window, walked about 15 feet, climbed over a wall and fell about 15 feet. He was taken to a hospital, ending up with stitches in his back and leg and a swollen ankle.
A police report said a double-pane window was broken and the room was in ''complete disarray.'' The report also said there were ''approximately seven rolled marijuana cigarettes'' in plain sight that police linked to Nkemdiche.
Nkemdiche came to Ole Miss, where his older brother, linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche, also plays, as one of the top-rated recruits in the country and helped the Rebels beat Alabama two consecutive years and reach two major bowls.