Football

Marrone, Orange miss out on New York’s No. 1 recruit Ogundeko

Ebenezer Ogundeko committed to Clemson during the Under Armour All-American Game on Friday.

Ogundeko, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound defensive end from Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., is one of the top recruits in New York state. He had offers from numerous schools, including Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Notre Dame, but cut his list down to Syracuse and Clemson.

Earning the commitment of Ogundeko would’ve been a major accomplishment for Syracuse and head coach Doug Marrone. Marrone’s been looking to dominate the recruiting pipeline from New York City to Syracuse, and Ogundeko’s commitment would have been a major step toward doing so.

But Ogundeko chose Syracuse’s new Atlantic Coast Conference foe instead.

Brian Dohn, a recruiting analyst for Scout.com, said Ogundeko is a versatile player who could also be an outside linebacker in college.

“He can play outside linebacker, he can play defensive end. And I think in today’s defensive schemes, you need versatile players like that,” Dohn said. “Once he gets to a school, they’ll really figure out where he fits best. But you always want kids that can play multiple positions in case one spot doesn’t work out.”

Scout.com rated Ogundeko as a three-star recruit, while Rivals gave him four stars.

“But from a strength standpoint, for a high school kid, it’s very good,” Dohn said. “And when you watch him play on tape, and I mean this in a complimentary way, he’s got a violent way of playing just in terms of how physical he is.”

Ogundeko has the type of frame where he could put on weight to be exclusively a defensive end, Dohn said, or he could lose weight to be an outside linebacker.

Dohn said physically, Ogundeko has the capability to play as a true freshman, and also has a good football I.Q. He could play as a freshman if Clemson needs him to.

“With him, if he progresses off the field,” Dohn said, “he can play as a freshman because he’s physically strong enough now.”

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