Robert Nkemdiche is a professional American football player who plays in the defensive tackle position for the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL. Before turning pro, he had a 3-year long college football career at the University of Mississippi. The talented player was a first-round pick of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Age, Early Life, and Rise to Fame
Robert Nkemdiche was born on September 19, 1994, to Beverly and Sunday Nkemdiche in Loganville, Georgia. He had his high school education at Grayson High School where as a three-sport athlete, he competed in football, basketball as well as in track & field. In his junior year, the multi-talented youngster finished as the first runner-up in the shot put and discus events of the 2011 Gwinnett County T&F Championship.
For the school’s football team, the Grayson Rams, Robert Nkemdiche played in the defensive end and running back positions. He recorded 59 tackles and 18 sacks on defense in addition to 528 total rushing yards and 17 touchdowns on offense in his junior year. In addition to receiving first-team All-American honors, his impressive performance helped the Grayson Rams maintain a season-long 15–0 unbeaten run as they bagged the GHSA 6A state title.
In his senior high school season, Robert Nkemdiche finished with 59 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and 7 sacks on defense while also running 235 yards and 10 touchdowns on offense. For his senior year performance, he earned second-team All-American selection and also earned the County Defensive Player of the Year Award by the Gwinnett Daily Post.
By the end of his high school career, Robert Nkemdiche was the toast among college recruiters as he was widely considered as a five-star recruit. In addition to being rated as the No. 1 defensive line prospect, the youngster was also the unanimous No. 1 overall player of his class. He initially committed to Clemson University in June 2012, however, he backtracked on the commitment before the end of the year. He eventually committed to the University of Mississippi on the 2013 National Signing Day.
Nkemdiche made 11 appearances including 10 starts in his freshman season. While splitting time between defensive end and defensive tackle, the talented player registered 34 tackles (25 solos), two sacks, two pass deflections, and 3 quarterback hurries. His outstanding performance earned him Freshman All-SEC as well as First-team Freshman All-American honors. In his sophomore season, he amassed 35 tackles with 4.0 tackles-for-loss, 2.0 sacks, and one pass breakup, a performance which earned him All-SEC first team and All-America second team selections.
Robert Nkemdiche registered 29 tackles (13 solos), 3.0 sacks, 2 rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown in his junior season. In addition to a second-team All-America selection, the talented player was a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award, the first defensive lineman to attain the feat. He was also a semifinalist for both the Rotary Lombardi Award and Chuck Bednarik Award. Unfortunately, he did not feature in the team’s victorious outing at the 2016 Sugar Bowl after facing charges for drug possession.
Forgoing his last year of college football, Robert Nkemdiche announced his decision to enter the 2016 NFL Draft in December 2015. He was drafted in the first round by the Arizona Cardinals as the 29th overall pick.
As opposed to expectations, Nkemdiche had a rather slow start to his NFL career. Marred by a nagging ankle injury, he was limited to only 5 games as a rookie and he finished the season with one tackle. In the 2017 season, the talented player made 12 appearances in which he registered 11 tackles and one forced fumble.
Robert Nkemdiche Brothers and Family
Both of Robert Nkemdiche’s parents are of Nigerian origin. His father Sunday Nkemdiche is a medical consultant in cardiology whereas his mother Beverly Nkemdiche is active in the political scene of Nigeria. She once served as a member of the legislative house of their home state of Anambra.
Robert Nkemdiche was raised alongside 2 older brothers – Denzel and Bryan. It turns out that the NFL star is not the only member of the family with remarkable sports talents. Though 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 towed a different path altogether as he is a music artist.
Height, Weight, and Body Measurements
Robert Nkemdiche is 6 feet 4 inches (193 cm) tall and maintains a bodyweight of 296 lb (134 kg). He has an arm length of 33 7⁄8“(0.86 m) and a hand size of 10 3⁄4” (0.27 m).