Robert Nkemdiche hangs out with Shaq on official visit to LSU

For months, it has been assumed by just about everyone in the recruiting world that the top high school football prospect in the country, Robert Nkemdiche will end up an Ole Miss Rebel. His brother Denzel plays for the team, he has been on the campus close to a dozen times in the last couple months, and mostly importantly, Ole Miss is where his mother wants him to go. And as the old saying goes “Mama knows best.” For all intents and purposes, Nkemdiche’s 7:30 a.m. press conference this Wednesday seemed to be little more than a formality. He was going to be a Rebel.

Of course much like a bachelor hitting Vegas for one final go-around with his buddies before the wedding day, Nkemdiche decided to surprise the recruiting world this weekend by taking a last minute official visit to LSU. It came as a surprise to many, especially when Nkemdiche had said earlier in the week that he was shutting down the recruiting process.

Still, entering the weekend, few thought LSU to be a real player for Nkemdiche’s services. But if he does somehow end up in Baton Rouge, well, Les Miles will owe at least a small debt of gratitude to one of LSU’s biggest alums. That man? Shaquille O’Neal.

That’s right, with Nkemdiche in town this weekend, LSU pulled out all the stops to impress the No. 1 player in the country. Beyond just campus tours and sorority parties, those stops included O’Neal “coincidentally” showing up to the same restaurant on Friday night that Nkemdiche, LSU running back Jeremy Hill and some other Tigers’ football players were frequenting.  The picture above is courtesy of Hill’s Twitter and Instagram feeds.

Whether the Big Diesel/Aristotle/Cactus has enough sway to pull Nkemdiche from the strong orbital pull that is Hugh Freeze, remains to be seen.

But in a wild recruitment that started with a commitment to Clemson in the summer, doesn’t a Shaq-infused ending only seem appropriate?

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About Aaron Torres

Aaron Torres works for Fox Sports, and was previously a best-selling author of the book 'The Unlikeliest Champion.' He currently uses Aaron Torres Sports to occasionally weigh-in on the biggest stories from around sports. He has previously done work for such outlets as Sports Illustrated, SB Nation and Slam Magazine.