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Orange Hope: Why Did Ogundeko Swap Florida for Syracuse in His Final Two?

NYPost.com

How much of a shot does Syracuse have at landing Ebenezer Ogundeko? Earlier in the week Ryan Murray from Rivals reported the Brooklyn pass rusher had changed his final two schools from Florida and Clemson, to Syracuse and Clemson. Does the Orange have a legitimate 50/50 shot?

First, what eliminated the Gators from his decisions? There are thoughts that competition at his position pushed him away. According to UF recruiting site The Bull Gator, Florida has commitments from DE Joey Ivey (Dade City, FL) and three Sunshine State linebackers, Dillon Lawson (Crestview), Daniel McMillan (Jacksonville), and Matt Rolin (Ashburn, Virginia).  There’s also plenty of youth along the defensive line and linebacker positions for UF. 

Ogundeko told The Fizz he wanted to go someplace that would allow him to become a superstar. Maybe he feels all the talented bodies at pass rusher in Gainesville would cloud his ability to truly stand out. Which would be a reason to switch Syracuse with Florida as a finalist. While the spotlight wouldn’t be as bright outside the SEC, Ogundeko would obviously be allowed to step in right away and be a regular contributor on defense.

Maybe Ebo also realizes, in today’s college football landscape there’s no shortage of attention no matter where you go. Just last April Chandler Jones was drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft by a Super Bowl contender despite leaving after just three years, and being constantly double and triple-teamed on a 5-7 Orange squad that collapsed down the stretch in the Big East.

More importantly though, is the close bond he has with so many of his peers that are fired up for their time at SU. Doug Marrone’s staff has done a terrific job plucking high-end talent from the five boroughs. It’s become cool on the fields of Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island, to dream of “playing ball upstate.” Brandon Reddish begets Wayne Morgan, who begets Augustus Edwards – and hopefully Ebo and Laray Smith.

There is now a pipeline pulsing with momentum from the Big Apple into the Carrier Dome, and the energy is palpable. Coaches in New York trust sending their players to SU. In turn those athletes are doing plenty of recruiting of their friends. Sounded like Ogundeko, along with many of his fellow guests, had a terrific official visit a few weekends ago to the Hill. He might still be basking in the glow of the trip up to SU, envisioning playing alongside so many of his close friends. 

While SU has done a tremendous job rebuilding its New York State relationships, the one piece missing on Marrone’s resume is keeping the very best talent home. He’s lamented losing Ishaq Williams and Jarron Jones in previous years. Bringing Ebo to SU could be the game-changer the program has longed for.

Ogundeko says he’ll decide on January 5th, so plenty could change. Maybe Florida comes back hard and displaces SU again. Maybe a third school jumps into the fray. Maybe Clemson is the heavy favorite and he’s planning to choose Tigers anyway. No matter what, Syracuse has a fighting chance and that’s all you could hope for heading into the holidays.

Posted: D.A.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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