Robert Nkemdiche barred from Sugar Bowl, intends to enter draft

Ole Miss has suspended star defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche for the Allstate Sugar Bowl, and Nkemdiche says he's played his last game for the team.

Nkemdiche, a junior, intends to apply for early entry into the 2016 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 announced in a statement Sunday. "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."

Nkemdiche was charged with possession of marijuana last week after police found seven marijuana cigarettes in his Atlanta hotel room. Police were called to the Atlanta Grand Hyatt Hotel on Dec. 12 after Nkemdiche broke a hotel window and fell 15 feet to the ground, according to the Atlanta Police Department. He was hospitalized after the fall and needed stitches in his back and leg.

"Last week, our athletics director (Ross Bjork) and I informed Robert that he will not be joining us for the bowl game," said Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze in a statement. "In addition, Robert has decided to declare for the NFL Draft, and we will continue to support him as he prepares for the next chapter in his life. I look forward to sharing with NFL general managers and scouts what a unique and talented individual he is. Robert has made an immeasurable impact on our program, and we are forever indebted to him. He and his family will always be part of the Ole Miss family."

Nkemdiche is considered one of the top defensive prospects in college football. However, an NFL scout recently told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Nkemdiche is "strange" and could scare off NFL teams.

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