Closing Time: Can SU Land The Final Two Pieces to an Epic Recruiting Class?

Ebenezer Ogundeko and Alex Officer represent the last two pieces to an elite puzzle for SU.

Pictures Courtesy of Rivals & Scout

This has been a terrific stretch for Syracuse football recruiting, but the battle for Brooklyn DE Ebenezer Ogundeko is still the most crucial one of the year for Doug Marrone. Even in a blockbuster summer where Marrone is truly etching his mark on the football program, SU is keeping its eyes on the prize: winning the swing competitions that would take this class from impressive to elite. Here are the two most important players remaining on the slate:

Ebenezer Ogundeko/DE/Brooklyn, NY

Tuesday, when EO announces his pick in a tight 3-horse race between Notre Dame, Syracuse, and Florida, he’ll have Orange Nation and the coaching staff alike sitting on pins and needles.

As has been well documented here at The Fizz, the payout that comes with landing Ebo is massive. First, you would have NYC’s top rated player coming to a school that has trained its recruiting focus on setting up the territory fence around the five boroughs. The natural exclamation point would be to snag the best player in the region from which so many recent commits – including Ebo’s best friend and intended college teammate Augustus Edwards – have come from. He would represent the program-changer Marrone has discussed since he took the job. The best athletes in-state have been understandably dazzled by bigger programs. If Ogundeko does what Ishaq, Jarron Jones and Chad Kelly did not and decides to stay home, it shifts the dynamic of SU football. It may begin a parade of New York’s elite talent marching to the Hill annually. Not to mention, SU adds an enormously talented end that steps into the wake of Chandler Jones departure and replenishes a position Syracuse needs help at badly.

Encouraging for SU fans is that Ebo attended Edwards’ college announcement and they traveled to CNY together for Ebo’s final campus visit. Gus told The Fizz’s Kevin Fitzgerald he would “try to recruit [Ogundeko] a little” during the trip. While on the Hill, EO tweeted he ran into Chan Jones and NFL veteran Dwight Freeney. Not only are Jones and Freeney tremendous ambassadors for the program, they’re also defensive ends who grew up nearby (Jones – Rochester, Freeney – Hartford). One can only imagine what might have been exchanged between the trio.

Alex Officer/LT/Rochester, NY

Don’t let AO 2.0 fly under the radar of importance because he plays an underappreciated position. As I wrote earlier this summer, Officer is a tremendous blocker who understands the offense as a well-oiled machine and knows more than just his role on every snap. He’s instinctive, physically massive, and a relentless run blocker.

This is both a must-win and a very winnable battle for SU. Officer’s only other offers are from Pittsburgh, UMass and FCS Old Dominion. For Syracuse to land AO 2.0 over UMass it’ll have to top Minutemen TE Jerome Lewis who is actually AO’s older brother despite a different last name. It is impossible to stress how much SU needs skilled depth on the O-line. After all, those big guys will have to carve out a pocket for a first-year starting quarterback in a new, more competitive conference.

2013 has been a resounding success on the recruiting trail considering last year’s late season collapse and low expectations for this year from fans and media. But with a few key pickups already in the books, these final battles could set up SU with a roster capable of turning some serious heads.

Posted: Jake Moskowitz

29 Comments on this Post

  1. I thought Jones was from Endicott near Binghamton

  2. Steve Leahy

    Mark, Jones is from Endicott watched him play HS ball.

  3. OrangeCrush27

    what about Laray Smith? I would think the last 3 would be officer, smith and E.O.?

  4. Orangeinva

    Our class is rated #60 by scout and similarly by Rivals. Yet if we land EO and AO our class becomes elite?? We MIGHT break into the high 40s.

  5. Thatis correct The jones brothers are from the triple cities in the southern tier of NYS

  6. Crush, you’re right. Laray is a very important recruit also. This also wouldn’t be the final pieces of the recruiting class, but a great set of “middle” pieces. We still need a couple of OL, another lb, wr or two, and safety/db. This class has a really good first 8 recruits, but it’s still about 10 away from being finished.

  7. i feel no shame in committing to the orange. acc next year plus coaching staff plus a warm dome plus great education plus playing time plus upgrade in facilities. i know i would..

  8. Russell MacEachern

    Agreed we all know the Jones boys are from Endicott…why so few offers for such a fine OL in [email protected].tell me young man…HaHa..answered your previous

  9. Russell MacEachern

    in a previous post I predicted w/Ogundeko and a couple more 3* studs we’d have a top 45/48 class…its looking fairly accurate!!

  10. OrangeCrush27

    Well Rivals website has a story on two teammates Maquedius Bain and teammate Dionte Taylor taking a visit up to ‘Cuse sometime soon. Bain is a 3/4* DT that has already committed to FSU and Taylor is a 3* WR who is open.

  11. BuckNasty80

    I believe the Jones boys were born in Richester and later on in life moved to Endicott

  12. I bet Zach Allen is recruiting Officer. Gotta protect the blindside!

  13. ATL Orange

    The Jones boys are from Rochester! They later moved to endicott.

  14. Russell MacEachern

    What’s the big deal?…they both committed to the “Cuse” from Endicott…give Endicott there props…

  15. Norma Stitz

    I have read today that Bain and FSU have parted ways. Go get him HCDM! Kid has an awesome offer list!

  16. Russell MacEachern

    thats excellent new’s Norma…that would be a Fla Orange I’d really consider a coup!!!C’mon up Bain…jump on the train..

  17. Anyone who truly understands the game of football cannot “undervalue the players on the offensive line and their importance to all facets of the game. Of the two players available OE has the reputation but Officer may be the most important. Yes both makes this Doug’s best recruiting year up to this point by far.

  18. Russell MacEachern

    Your right Chris..all winning programs know u start from the lines out!!!OL in particulars not a glamor spot but maybe the most critical and hardest to find great players position…

  19. OT’s (especially LTs)is definitely a glamour position. The quality tackles get paid very well in the league. Sidenote: I highly doubt Ogundeko commits to Cuse. I heard he was telling people he was going to commit to Florida a couple of weeks ago.

  20. Moskowitz

    First off, thanks for reading.
    Secondly, the Jones boys were born in Rochester, AKA they are “from” Rochester.

    OrangeCrush27: You could justifiably include Smith. Given Gus’s recent commitment, I don’t think it’s as key a battle. But on the other hand, all the reasons he should go Orange are there: the NYC connection, etc. Another note: thanks for the tip on those two guys coming up to visit. I’ll do a little digging on them for my next story.

    AM: Do you have a source on EO “telling people he was going to commit to Florida?” I’m very interested to look into that.

  21. Norma Stitz

    EO will be Orange. The NYC thing is really big to some of these kids, a pride/underdog thing. They want to be the ones to turn this program around. That is why I believe EO will be Orange.

    Mosk, I know getting Gus is big but he and Laray are way different backs and with Larays height (6’1) and speed (4.4) he is a necessity for a team that lacks speed. I mention his height because it has been reported he has good hands too and is being looked at as a back that can split out too and play some receiver.

    The big nasties in the trenches (both sides of the line) make or break a team. Palmer knows that and talks about it openly. He is gonna be an awesome O lineman for SU. Believe Officer could be the same.

  22. 44pride

    Officer has offers also from UCONN, Boston College, Purdue and Rutgirls…. What do you mean he only has offers from Pitt, UMASS and Old Dominion?

  23. kd bart

    Don’t forget the two transfers that will also come aboard in 2013

  24. Russell MacEachern

    44 I believe those other school’s backed off leaving what you see but technically your right….they earlier verbally offered..recruiting is such a shi**y game!!

  25. Russell MacEachern

    @AM..I know someone who said they no someone who said he heard he does’nt know where he’s going…doe’s that make sense???lol..


    Hey Guys Sorry I’m Late to the party 25 posts I think these guys can tell with all this interest that ‘cuse fans are clamoring for them to go Orange! Cuse is a great education currently upgrading facilities, within driving distance for family to see them play and with a coaching staff that shoots straight with these young men and doesn’t pull recruiting crap other schools do last minute. I like that a ton.

    Overall I think Ebo and Officer would be Major additions to the lines that are starting to get stronger every year, Officer On the same line with Omari Palmer would be huge to protect the backfield and set up the run game and an Edge rusher like Ebo who can play DE or LB with Spurill, Wayne williams, and Isaiah Johnson could be dominant allowing us to drop more DBs in nickle coverage and still get strong pressure.

    Laray Smith could be a great Lightning back to match Gus Edwards’ Thunder and the fact they are all friends would solidify the core of the team family which is very important.

    Marrone is Building this team right Strong Lines, brusing backfield and good QB talent, That makes WR’s and DBs come running cause it makes them look really good.

    Can’t wait to see these guys charge out of the tunnel in ORANGE, “NEW YORK PRIDE AT THE SWAGGER’CUSE!” (per Wayne Williams)


  27. Russell MacEachern

    I kinda see Laray making an impact as a nice sized corner…like LTs so hard to find but so important to winning…good corners forcing the opposition to run is a nice recipe for success!!Especially w/our LBers and incoming DLs…

  28. Norma Stitz

    All due respect Russ but no way CUSE would use Laray on D. His speed and playmaking ability are needed too much on offense. I like the thought but not with what the team has to offer right now. IMO.

  29. Russell MacEachern

    Hey Norma..what are we gonna do?Too much talent?lol..can’t lose…!!

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