Oxford, Miss. — Mississippi defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche has played his last college football game.
The Rebels star, who was recently charged with marijuana possession after a 15-foot fall at an Atlanta hotel, will not play in the Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma State on Jan. 1. The school said he will enter the NFL draft as a junior.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said in a statement Sunday that Nkemdiche was told last week that he “will not be joining us” for the bowl game. He added that the school will “support him as he prepares for the next chapter in his life.”
Freeze said he will share information with NFL general managers and scouts on Nkemdiche, “a unique and talented individual” who has made an “immeasurable impact on our program.”
The 6-foot-4, 296-pounder is a second-team All-American and a possible top-10 draft pick. He has 29 tackles, seven for loss, including three sacks. He also scored three touchdowns for Ole Miss, which used him at fullback at times.
“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.”
Maryland coach DJ Durkin has hired Walt Bell to be his offensive coordinator. Bell served as offensive coordinator, assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach at Arkansas State the last two seasons. Under his direction, the Red Wolves averaged 40 points a game this year.
In his 26 games overseeing the Arkansas State offense, the Red Wolves amassed at least 300 yards in 24 games and surpassed 500 yards on 11 occasions.
No. 25 Western Kentucky (11-2) vs. South Florida (8-4)
Kickoff: 2:30 p.m., Marlins Park, Miami
Line: Western Kentucky by 2.5
Series record: USF leads 4-2
What’s at stake: History for Western Kentucky quarterback Brandon Doughty, who enters his college finale with 12,394 yards and 108 touchdown passes.
Key matchup: WKU wide receiver Taywan Taylor against USF’s defensive backs. Taylor has 17 touchdown catches this season and averages 17 yards a catch. USF has 15 interceptions, its most since 2010.
Players to watch: WKU — RB Anthony Wales has gotten handoffs 141 times this season, and has lost yardage on exactly three of them. He’s 14 yards shy of 1,000 for the year. USF — QB Quinton Flowers has thrown for 21 touchdowns and rushed for 10 more, plus will undoubtedly be bolstered by getting to play in his hometown.