D. Nkemdiche, Bryant suspended after arrests

NKEMDICHE

NKEMDICHE

By Parrish Alford

Daily Journal

OXFORD – Two prominent Ole Miss football players were arrested in separate incidents over the weekend and suspended by coach Hugh Freeze on Monday.

That brings the total of football arrests at the school to four in less than a month.

Linebackers Serderius Bryant and Denzel Nkemdiche are the biggest names in the mix so far.

Oxford police chief Joey East said Bryant, 22, of Sanford, Fla., was arrested on the square Friday on charges of public drunk and disturbing the peace.

BRYANT

BRYANT

Nkemdiche, 21, of Loganville, Ga., was arrested around midnight Saturday on charges of disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct following a disturbance at a local apartment complex, The Retreat.

Freeze was out of town Monday but issued a statement through the school’s media relations staff.

“We are aware of the incidents and gathering facts. Denzel and Serderius are suspended until we know more,” he said.

Saturday was Nkemdiche’s birthday. He responded to his arrest on Twitter on Monday. His tweet said, “Hopefully I won’t be judged by the exaggerated claims of how I acted on my 21st birthday. I still know what’s important in life. God got me.”

Bryant will be a senior next season, Nkemdiche a junior. They play the same position, outside linebacker, and were listed as co-starters on the final depth chart in advance of the Music City Bowl.

Backup cornerback Bobby Hill, 19, of Moultrie, Ga., and a rising sophomore, was arrested on Jan. 28 on a charge of sexual battery. Hill is also suspended indefinitely.

Backup defensive end Channing Ward, 21, a rising junior, pleaded guilty to DUI in his native Monroe County last week.

Nkemdiche had 35 tackles, two tackles for loss, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble in an injury-plagued 2013 season. He appeared in 10 games with six starts.

Nkemdiche was a second-team All-SEC selection by the Associated Press in 2012 and 2013.

Bryant appeared in 11 games, starting seven, and led the team in tackles with 78 and in tackles for loss with 12.5. He also had three sacks, three quarterback pressures and three forced fumbles.

He was named AP All-SEC in 2013.

parrish.alford@journalinc.com