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Syracuse Stargazing: Ogundeko Wants to Shine, Can He Do it on the Hill?

ESPN.com

Ebenezer Ogundeko wants to be a star. Who can blame the 6’4” 240 lb. 4-star defensive end? Ebo finished his senior season with nearly 80 tackles, led New York’s PSAL league with 17 sacks, and won Defensive Lineman of the Year. It’s no wonder why the highly recruited senior deserves the spotlight. Ogundeko tells The Fizz he wants to play at a school where he can shine, where his talents won’t be underappreciated. That’s why southern powerhouses Clemson and Florida top his list.

“It’s very important. People tailgating, people knowing your name everywhere you go. People want to take pictures with you and treat you like you are a superstar.”

The Tigers and Gators lead the pass-rushers’ list with less than a month until his decision. Ogundeko marveled at game day in Gainesville and Death Valley, and said the environment that suits him best will ultimately be the deciding factor. He wants a place where he can effectively grab the attention of fans and spectators and showcase his talents. Can he do that at Syracuse? Terrific question.

Let’s be honest, the football atmospheres at schools like Florida and Clemson blow SU out of the water. He’ll certainly receive more exposure on national title contenders. Just the way it goes. And even though Ogundeko will be making his official visit on The Hill this weekend, he’s only making sure eliminating SU was the right decision.

“I just want to know that I’m making the right choice of cutting Syracuse from my list or not.”

Time for Doug Marrone to pull out the big guns this weekend. No pressure or anything.

The Orange still has a small chance at a top 10 DE in the nation. Nothing is certain, Ogundeko’s list of top schools has changed more times over the last 6 months than Ryan Nassib’s career playbook. Back in June, Ogundeko tabbed Notre Dame as his favorite after visiting South Bend. Now, the Irish are nowhere to be found in the race. Arizona State was once high on Ebenezer’s list after an official visit back in mid-October. The Sun Devil appeal has apparently burned out. Maybe scheduling Syracuse as the last official visit could be the best thing for Marrone and company? At least the trip will be the freshest in his mind.

If his visit goes well this weekend, he admits he might bump SU back into the hunt.

“[Coach Anselmo] knows that once I come up to Syracuse, he thinks that I might have Syracuse as my leader, or in my top 3. So it’s all up to the visit.”

Anselmo has been recruiting Ogundeko for months, and this is a difficult decision with the amount of options someone like Ebenezer has. The Brooklyn native called it “a business.” Factors can’t be taken too personally, he admitted. Bottom line, it’s pretty simple. All the DE is focused on is hardware.

“[What’s important is] being on a winning team. When you’re winning, all that other stuff doesn’t matter to me. Winning and being successful.”

Make no mistake here, Syracuse isn’t the only school that can sell immediate playing time. Ogundeko is one of the most talented edge rushers in the country. He’s going to play as soon as he steps on a campus. He knows he”ll get significant snaps as a freshman even at Florida or a Clemson. He’ll be enrolling in college in January and will have an extra semester to familiarize himself with whatever system he’ll be in. Orange Nation will need a little help from the Cuse Clique that will also be on campus this weekend. In addition to Ogundeko, class of 2013 commits Zach Allen, Austin Wilson, Augustus Edwards, Tyler Provo and target Laray Smith will all be on The Hill as well.

Ogundeko will announce his decision January 4th at the Under-Armour All-America game. It’s less than 30 days away, but it could be a whole new ballgame for Ebo in the New Year. He wants to be a star, and SU fans have stars in their eyes.

Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald

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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