Brooklyn's finest


These days, college programs target the nation's top recruits as early as their sophomore or freshman season. Heading into the spring of their senior year, the best prospects usually already have several BCS offers if not more than a dozen.

Ebenezer Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y./Thomas Jefferson) appears to be the exception.

The ESPN 150 defensive end was just looking for an opportunity from any BCS school this past February. Ogundeko, a four-star prospect and the nation's No. 108 overall player, only had an offer from North Carolina A&T and interest from a small group of Big East schools.

Then Syracuse came with an offer in mid-February and the floodgates opened for Ogundeko. The 6-foot-3, 229-pounder started garnering national attention, which reached a fever pitch Friday as he earned his game jersey during the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2013 Under Amour All-America Game.

"I'm just looking forward to having a lot of fun and playing well at the Under Armour Game," Ogundeko said of his selection.

Much has changed for him since he received his first BCS offer from Syracuse. By the end of February, two more teams offered before Ogundeko made a visit to UConn and committed on the spot. Once bigger programs began showing interest, Ogundeko realized he may have rushed his decision and decommitted less than a month later.

Ogundeko now has more than 20 BCS programs -- with the likes of Alabama, Florida and Notre Dame, among others -- all in the mix for his services.

"Not at all," Ogundeko said when asked if he ever thought his recruitment would take off like it has. "I treat it as a blessing and keep on working hard and thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for every single day.

Ogundeko was awarded his jersey in front of his coaches, fellow students and several members of the New York City media, but Ogundeko just needed one person to be there for him to smile.

Ogundeko was elated after receiving the Syracuse offer. Not just because it was his first major offer, but he now knew he would be able to attend college without putting additional stress on his mother, a Nigerian emigrant who moved to America to provide better educational opportunities for her kids.

"This is pretty special," he said. "I'm glad to see this happen while she's here."

Ogundeko lists Arizona State, Florida, Ole Miss and Syracuse as his current favorites, and he will make a commitment after his senior season concludes.

Arizona State will receive Ogundeko's first official visit in mid-October when he visits for the Oregon game. He hasn't planned any other visits, instead focusing on his final season, which is off to a fast start with seven sacks and 25 tackles through three contests.

Florida was considered the favorite to land Ogundeko back in July when he planned to announce, and the Gators staff has continued to stay in touch with him.

"I spoke with Coach [Dan] Quinn the other day, actually," he said. "We just talked about regular stuff and how my season is going and when I plan on going down there."

From where he was back in February to where he is now, Ogundeko is just appreciative of his position and that so many BCS programs are vying for his services. The experience allows him to remain modest.

"It's been a great experience," he said, "and I'm just planning to learn from it and just treat it well."