Robert Nkemdiche suspended for Sugar Bowl

ByChris Low ESPN logo
Sunday, December 20, 2015

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze has suspended All-American defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche for the Allstate Sugar Bowl matchup with Oklahoma State.

The suspension will end Nkemdiche's college career, as he announced that he will enter the NFL draft.

"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," Nkemdiche 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. I want to thank my coaches, my teammates and Rebel Nation for their support these past three years, and I look forward to making them proud for years to come."

Freeze said in a statement that he and athletic directorRoss Bjork told Nkemdiche of the suspension last week and that Ole Miss "will continue to support him as he prepares for the next chapter in his life."

The Ole Miss Spirit first reported the suspension.

Nkemdiche was charged with marijuana possession last week after Atlanta police found seven rolled marijuana cigarettes in a hotel room tied to Nkemdiche. He fell 15 feet and suffered mild injuries after breaking a window in a room at the Grand Hyatt in Atlanta, according to a police report.

Nkemdiche is expected to be a top-10 pick in the NFL draft.

Freeze told on Sunday that the decision to suspend Nkemdiche boiled down to maintaining discipline within the program, but the coach emphasized what a big part of the program Nkemdiche has been.

"I'm totally indebted to this guy. He helped change our program [as the No. 1 recruit in the country when he signed]," Freeze said. "I look forward to sharing with NFL scouts and general managers his unique ability and talent."

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