Players to watch: Ebenezer Ogundeko
Ebenezer Ogundeko’s meteoric rise on the national football recruiting landscape is as impressive as the skillset he offers collegiate coaches.
The rising senior defensive end at Thomas Jefferson was a relative unknown a year ago and now has 36 BCS-level scholarship offers and is the top rated player in the Class of 2013 in New York State.
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound 16-year-old lists Syracuse, the first program to offer him a scholarship, as one of his favorites, joining Notre Dame and Florida.
Ogundeko visited Florida, UConn, Rutgers, Boston College and Notre Dame. Last month he joined close friend Augustus Edwards, a standout running back at Tottenville, on a trip to Syracuse. He’s also drawn interest from Ole Miss and Clemson.
“God gave him the gift of strength and to be that size,” said Devale Ellis, an MSG Varsity analyst and former NFL wide receiver. “You don’t find too many guys who walk around at 6-4, 225 who can bench 315 five times. If he learns the game, stays focused and his grades stay on point, he’ll definitely have the opportunity to play on the next level.”
Ogundeko, who projects as an outside linebacker, had 79 tackles and 11 sacks as a junior. He has been selected to play in the Under Armour All-American Game and in July participated in “The Opening,” a prestigious Nike Combine featuring the best players in the country.
“I think I did pretty good,” Ogundeko said. “It was fun meeting new players and showing what I’m about, just competing and having fun.”
As for his decision, Ogundeko originally said he wanted to make a verbal commitment in late July, but he has decided to take his time, take official visits and plans to make his announcement after the season.
“It’s pretty hard,” Ogundeko said. “It’s probably the biggest decision I’ve had to make in my life. I have to think about it for my family, for my school.”
Visit MSGVarsity.com each weekday this summer as we unveil the next athlete on our Players to watch list. Click here for the complete list.