What a great catch this would have been for the Syracuse football team.
Ebenezer Ogundeko, the high school all-american defensive end rated as the best player in the state of New York announced he would be playing football for Clemson Friday during the Under Armor All-American game. Ogundeko would have been the highest rated recruit to come to Syracuse in the Doug Marrone era, but said that at the end of the day college football is a business which led to his decision to play for the Tigers:
“It was pretty close, a lot of people convinced me (for SU), but at the end of the day it’s a business and I have to do what I have to do,” he added. “I had to keep all these people off my mind, people that just met me this year just trying to convince me and trying to get close to me.
“All that doesn’t mean anything to me, family is first and I’m ready to create a new family at Clemson.”
This certainly raises the question whether or not the uncertainty surrounding Doug Marrone and and NFL were at least partially to blame for Ogundeko’s decision. There is speculation that this decision was made by Ogundeko long before Marrone’s interviews with the Browns and Bills, but if that were the case why wouldn’t Ogundeko commit sooner? Why was he in attendance at the New Era Pinstripe Bowl against West Virginia, and why would coaching be one of his major deciding points in choosing Clemson?
We will never know if the Doug Marrone situation played in to Ogundeko’s decision, but I think a reasonable person can assume that it definitely didn’t help. Syracuse fans will now get to see Ogundeko for the next four years in a different shade of Orange, with Syracuse heading to the ACC next season to compete against Clemson.
This is one of the reasons why I hate getting too caught up in recruiting. I found myself caught up in the Nerlins Noel hype last year when he was deciding between Kentucky, Syracuse, and Georgetown basketball, and once it didn’t pan out I simply felt like I wasted my time following it. To me, following the players that are committed, on the roster, or enrolled in the school is far more productive and fun in judging a team’s potential rather than follow a bunch of potential players by reading in to their tweets. While I would have loved to have Ogundeko in the right color Orange, Syracuse won’t really miss him because if you think about it, they never had him to begin with.
The fact that Syracuse hasn’t yet gotten to the point of locking down New York State for recruits is another issue. This is yet another reason why Syracuse needs Doug Marrone to stay in Syracuse, and should they lose him they will take a giant step back in recruiting. Marrone has done a far superior job to Greg Robinson in recruiting the state, and is very close to getting to the point where the best players from the northeast will want to come to Syracuse. With the troubles at Penn State, Rutgers going off to obscurity in the Big Ten, and Pittsburgh struggling to maintain a head coach, this is a prime opportunity for Syracuse to go to the next level of recruiting and really step it up a notch with the freshmen they bring in.
Recruiting is a giant headache to follow, and whether or not Syracuse gets the guy they are after, there is always another headache to be had with another guy.