Predicting the Top 5 SEC football players for 2015

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Sep 7, 2013; Oxford, MS, USA; Mississippi Rebels defensive end Robert Nkemdiche (5) sets up for a tackle during the game against the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mississippi Rebels defeated the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks 31-13. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Nkemdiche – Junior Defensive tackle, Ole Miss

Arguably the best defensive lineman in the SEC plays in Oxford, Miss., and his name is Robert Nkemdiche. The junior defensive tackle is a brick wall in the center of the Ole Miss defensive line. And at 6-foot-4 and 296 pounds, he has the size and strength to bulldoze offensive linemen on a consistent basis.

Nkemdiche can expect to be double teamed for most of the season, and therefore will probably not put up big numbers this season. But with the double team essentially giving his team a 10-on-11 advantage on most plays, he gives the Rebels’ defense a major advantage.

The biggest knock on Nkemdiche has been his motor and stamina. Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said Nkemdiche is a hard worker, but still has room to improve.

“He needs to finish plays more,” said Freeze during the SEC Media Days. “He’s phenomenal athletically, and he wins his one-on-ones.”

Nkemdiche was a freshman All-American in 2013 and a second-team All-American in 2014. His potential and upside has landed him as a preseason first All-American this year, according to Sporting News, Athlon, The Kickoff and CFB Matrix.

If all the pieces fall into place for Nkemdiche, the Ole Miss’ star on the defensive line will dominate SEC offenses all season long, and potentially earn his way into the top-10 of next year’s NFL Draft.

Next: 2015 Heisman hopefuls in the SEC

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