Robert Nkemdiche is a professional American football player who plays for the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL in the defensive tackle position. Before turning pro, he had a 3-year college football career at the University of Mississippi. The talented player was a first-round candidate for the 2016 NFL Draft.
Age, Early Life, and Rise to Fame
Robert Nkemdiche was born in Loganville, Georgia, on September 19, 1994, the son of Beverly and Sunday Nkemdiche. He received his high school education at Grayson High School, where he competed as a three-sport athlete in soccer, basketball, and track and field. In his junior year, the multi-talented athlete finished first runner-up in the 2011 Gwinnett County T&F Championship shot put and discus competitions in Gwinnett County.
For the school’s soccer team, the Grayson Rams, Robert Nkemdiche played on the defensive and running back positions. On defense, he recorded 59 tackles and 18 sacks, on offense 528 tackles and 18 sacks, and in the junior year a total of 528 rush yards and 17 touchdowns. His impressive performance not only helped the Grayson Rams win All-American honors in the first team but also helped the Grayson Rams remain 15-0 undefeated throughout the season to win the GHSA 6A State Championship.
In his high school season, Robert Nkemdiche ended his season with 59 tackles, 12 tackles to defeat, and 7 sacks in defense, while he scored 235 yards and 10 touchdowns in the attack. For his accomplishments in his senior year, he was named to the second team in the All-American selection and also received the Gwinnett Daily Post’s County Defensive Player of the Year award.
By the end of his high school career, Robert Nkemdiche was the star among college recruiters, as he was widely regarded as a five-star recruit. The young player was not only ranked No. 1 on defense but was also unanimously No. 1 in the overall standings in his class. In June 2012 he initially signed up for Clemson University but retired before the end of the year. Finally, he pledged himself to the University of Mississippi on National Contract Signing Day in 2013.
Nkemdiche had 11 performances, including 10 in his freshman season. While he shared the time between a defensive finish and defensive tackling, the talented player registered 34 tackles (25 solos), two sacks, two pass throws, and 3 quarterback rushes. His outstanding performances earned him both the Freshman All-SEC and Freshman All-American awards in the first team. In his second season, he collected 35 tackles with 4.0 tackles-for-loss, 2.0 sacks, and a pass throw, a feat that earned him the selection of the first team of the All-SEC and the second team of the All-American.
Robert Nkemdiche registered 29 tackles (13 solos), 3.0 sacks, 2 stormy touchdowns, and a preserved touchdown in his youth season. In addition to a second All-America selection, the talented player was a finalist for the Paul Hornung Prize, making him the first defender to achieve this feat. He was also a semi-finalist for both the Rotary Lombardi Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award. Unfortunately, he did not participate in the team’s victorious outing at the 2016 Sugar Bowl after he was charged with drug possession.
Robert Nkemdiche gave up his last year in college football and announced his decision to enter the 2016 NFL Draft in December 2015. He was ranked 29th in the first round by the Arizona Cardinals.
Contrary to expectations, Nkemdiche had a rather slow start to his NFL career. Due to a nagging ankle injury, he was limited to only 5 games as a rookie and ended the season with a tackle. In the 2017 season, the talented player completed 12 missions in which he registered 11 tackles and a forced fumble.
Robert Nkemdiche Brothers and Family
Both parents of Robert Nkemdiche are of Nigerian origin. His father Sunday Nkemdiche is a medical consultant in cardiology, while his mother Beverly Nkemdiche is active in the political scene in Nigeria. She once served as a member of the legislative assembly of her home state of Anambra.
Robert Nkemdiche grew up together with 2 older brothers – Denzel and Bryan. It turns out that the NFL star is not the only member of the family with remarkable sporting talents. Although he didn’t make it to the NFL, his brother Denzel Nkemdiche played as a linebacker for the University of Mississippi from 2011 to 2015. His oldest brother Bryan Chukwuma Nkemdiche took a very different path because he is a music artist.
Height, Weight, and Body Measurements
Robert Nkemdiche is 193 cm (6 feet 4 inches) tall and has a bodyweight of 134 kg (296 lb). He has an arm length of 33 7/8″(0.86 m) and a hand size of 10 3/4″(0.27 m).