Football is becoming more and more of an international sport and I don’t mean the football that the rest of the world calls soccer.
In the old days, there would be a field goal kicker from Europe or Mexico or some other exotic place but very few regular position players were from foreign lands.
It’s becoming more and more common to see players from other countries or players who are the children of immigrants.
There are a lot of Pacific Islanders playing on college teams and in the NFL and they have been around for a long time. But, we are seeing more African and European born players at positions other than kicker or punter.
Players like FSU Defensive End Bjoern Werner from Berlin, Germany, and Cincinnati Bengals Estovian born and raised Defensive End Margus Hunt. Hunt is a 6-8, 290 giant that played his college football at SMU. Michael Roos is also from Estonia and played college ball at Eastern Washington before moving on to the Tennessee Titans.
Sebastion Vollmer is from Dusseldorf, Germany and played his college football at the University of Houston.
Osi Umenyiora is an Atlanta Falcon who played college football at Troy State and was originally from Nigeria by way of England and later Alabama.
The Acho brothers, Sam and Emmanuel, are originally from Nigeria by way of the University of Texas.
There are quite a few more.
Robert Nkemdiche is the son of Nigerian immigrants. His father is a cardiologist and his mother is a politician back in Nigeria.
Ole Miss Head Coach Hugh Freeze is apparently a brilliant recruiter and the Rebels had the 5th ranked class in the entire nation according to ESPN in 2013. They signed the #1 rated player in the entire country in Robert Nkemdiche. Also, they hauled in the number one Offensive Tackle in Laremy Tunsil and the number one rated Wide Receiver in Laquon Treadwell. They signed the second rated Safety prospect in the entire country, Antonio Conner.
They also brought in the 3rd rated Offensive Tackle in Austin Colson and the top Defensive Tackle Junior College prospect in America, Lavon Hooks.
All of them, played a great deal and made a huge difference on the 2013 Ole Miss football team. Hooks started a few games at Defensive Tackle, but he also played some at Tight End, especially in short yardage situations.
Nkemdiche played Defensive End at Ole Miss as a freshman at 6-5, 295. I have seen his 40 yard dash time at anywhere from 4.56 to 4.7 with the later most likely being the closest to accurate. Either time is really moving for a big man. When he leaves Ole Miss early for the NFL after the 2015 season, it will be interesting to see what time he runs the 40 in for pro scouts at the combine.
He finished his freshman season with 34 total tackles and 8 tackles for losses. Nkemdiche also had 2 sacks and 3 QB hurries. Those aren’t great numbers, but they are decent for a true freshman.
This season, Nkemdiche will move inside to Defensive Tackle and expect his numbers to pick up dramatically as he matures and fulfills his enormous potential.
Look for both Ole Miss and Robert Nkemdiche to step up and have a really good season in 2014.