Jefferson's Ogundeko a hot propect this summer
Brian Ellis thought there was some sort of mistake when he first met Ebenezer Ogundeko.
Surely, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound behemoth inquiring about working out with Brian and his brother Devale at Elite Prototype Athletics wasn’t a 16-year-old rising senior at Thomas Jefferson HS.
“I thought he was a grown man when he walked in,” he said. “I thought he was somebody’s father…He’s just a freakish athlete and he’s blessed with that talent and that gift.”
And that’s why the defensive end has 34 college scholarship offers on the table, including the latest from Florida State and Ole Miss. It’s why Ogundeko, a true man-child, is considered the best player in New York State.
“God gave him the gift of strength and to be that size,” said Devale, 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 will get a chance to play at the highest level collegiately, with a host of BCS schools hot on his trail. Schools like Alabama, Florida, Syracuse, Oregon, Stanford and Miami have all offered scholarships.
Previously, Ogundeko said he narrowed his choices down to three – Florida, Syracuse and Notre Dame – but he’s intrigued by Ole Miss and he’ll visit the school on Feb. 19 after taking a trip to Syracuse, the first school to offer him a scholarship.
Ogundeko, who started playing football as an 11-year-old with the Brooklyn Chiefs, visited Florida three weeks ago and also took trips to UConn, Rutgers, Boston College and Notre Dame. He’ll ultimately come to a conclusion in late July.
“It’s pretty hard,” he 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.”
Ogundeko could have started at Jefferson as a sophomore, but he was behind a pair of seniors and had to wait his turn. That came last year and Ogundeko, who started filling out as a junior, seized the opportunity, racking up 79 tackles and 11 sacks. When the season ended, Ogundeko compiled his highlights and sent his recruiting tape out.
That’s when the interest started. Offers really started flying in after he earned MVP honors at a few national combines. Ogundeko’s meteoric rise had begun.
“I had to make a name for myself so I played pretty hard and didn’t take any plays off,” said Ogundeko, who has been selected to play in the Under Armour All-American Game.
While he plays defensive end at Jefferson, Ogundeko projects as an outside linebacker, preferably in a 3-4 defense. He’s learning the intricacies of the position from Brian Ellis, who was an outside linebacker at UMass from 2005-08.
“I’m still getting used to it, it’s pretty new,” Ogundeko said. “It’s similar, but you just have to be quicker on your feet and flipping your hips more. That’s what I’m learning at Elite Prototype here.”
Devale Ellis, who also worked out former Canarsie standout Leon Williams, now with the Kansas City Chiefs and Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley out of Curtis, said Ogundeko has the skillset to make an immediate impact in college.
“I think he can be another guy who can play early, if not as a freshman then as a sophomore, and contribute,” he said.
Ogundeko leaves for Oregon Thursday to participate in “The Opening,” a prestigious Nike Combine featuring the best players in the country.
“It’s a great experience to compete against the best,” Ogundeko said.
To prepare, he’s training hard with Brian and Devale Ellis at Aviator Sports Complex.
There are no days off.
“Some people just train in August, but a motto I learned is if you sweat in practice, you won’t bleed in battle,” Ogundeko said. “That’s what I do. I sweat in practice so I can be great on the field.”
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