FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Denzel Nkemdiche added another prestigious honor to his growing collection on Monday, as the Ole Miss linebacker was named to the Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-America Team.
A redshirt-freshman who became a team leader in his first season on the field, Nkemdiche was previously recognized as a Freshman All-American by Scout.com, College Football News and Phil Steele. He was a second-team All-SEC honoree by the AP, College Sports Madness and Phil Steele and earned SEC All-Freshman distinction from the league coaches and ESPN.com.
Nkemdiche is the first Ole Miss player to earn FWAA Freshman All-America accolades since the organization began naming a freshman team in 2001. He is one of four SEC players to make this year’s squad, along with Alabama WR Amari Cooper, Georgia RB Todd Gurley and Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel.
The Loganville, Ga., native earned a starting role at Stinger out of preseason camp and helped lead the Rebels from a last-place preseason pick all the way to a win over Pitt in the 2013 BBVA Compass Bowl. An undersized SEC linebacker at 5-foot-11 and 203 pounds, Nkemdiche led Ole Miss with 82 tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and three interceptions this year.
Nkemdiche finished tied for ninth in the SEC and tops among freshmen with 1.0 tackles for loss per outing, and third nationally among all freshmen. He's one of just two SEC players that forced four fumbles in league play, along with SEC Defensive Player of the Year Jarvis Jones from Georgia.