The biggest recruiting weekend for Syracuse football's 2013 class is here as the Orange are hosting 11 prospects. The staff will try to make a big impression on each of the visiting players. While the weekend is very important for Syracuse, it is just as important for the prospects.
The High Schoolers
DE Ebenezer Ogundeko: Everybody seems to want to know where New York's top player is headed. The difference is that he still doesn't know. Ogundeko is not the stick-to-your-guns type, so 'Cuse getting the potential last visit could go a long way in his recruitment. Florida and Clemson will be tough to beat in the end, as each of those programs jockeys for position with four and five-star talent on the edge, but "hometown" Syracuse has the chance to make up considerable ground while his fellow city NYC prospects are on campus.
RB Laray Smith: This weekend could be monumental not only for Syracuse, but for speedy track star and Brooklyn (N.Y.) Xaverian running back Laray Smith. He has been patiently waiting for offers from schools like Oregon and West Virginia to compete with Syracuse, but they have yet to materialize. With crunch time for the 2013 recruiting cycle already upon us, the three-star wouldn't surprise many if he left Central New York as a verbal pledge to the Orange. The potential get would not only shore-up a position group for the ACC-bound 'Cuse class, but it would continue the New York City theme that has become paramount for Doug Marrone's success.
DE Malik Brown: Brown has always held Syracuse in high regard, but it has increased further over the last two weeks. After defensive coordinator Scott Shafer paid Brown an in-home visit in South Florida, linebackers coach Steve Morrison showed up to meet with Brown further, and to properly introduce himself - and the university's pros - to the family.The ensuing official visit could be what places Brown over the top, though he maintains he will give South Florida and Mississippi State their due process as well.
MLB Luke Arciniega: Official visits are always big for JUCOs, especially for those that do not know a lot about Syracuse. Arciniega falls into this category. The Orange are looking to replace Sirki Diabate, and believe the JUCO route is the best option. Arciniega is one of a couple offerees at the position, including Joe Walker who could be deciding within the next week. Luke is also considering Memphis and BYU, both of which he says he is visiting within the next week. However, those visits could be moot if he pulls the trigger, which is possible if he likes what he sees.
LB Josh Kirkland: A bit of an unknown, Syracuse has targeted several players like Kirkland in this cycle. Getting him on campus for an official visit is big because of the JUCO thought process of first impressions and the need to play early. Linebacker is a position, should an offer materialize, that a player with experience is needed at. Stay tuned on this one.
S Darius Kelly: Kelly is an interesting case. A verbal pledge to Marshall, he still seems to be exploring other options. While he currently does not hold a Syracuse offer, he said he is "working on it," during a brief conversation with CuseNation.com. Should an offer come this weekend, he could make the selection as he looks to play at the BCS level rather than a non-BCS program like Marshall. Syracuse has some offers out to JUCO safeties already, and will look to add two in this class. Where Kelly ranks on the Orange's list could be determined by this visit.
DE Trevon Trejo: Michigan State and Nebraska are tough talent to compete with, but Syracuse has a shot with any prospect once he's on campus. The school has defeated B1G programs in the past because of playing time and style, and the team's move to the ACC should be big in the defensive end's plans considering the conference's tendency to showcase edge players against some of the best skill guys in America.
QB Zach Allen: Allen is as solid a verbal commit as a program could receive. He has had interest from other schools since his Elite 11 appearance, but has turned them away. This will be his first time seeing the campus in person in detail, and he's been anxiously anticipating this trip for some time. Knowing the position battle that will start in the spring, his early enrollment in January is huge. However, his ability to impress the staff starts now with each interaction. He could also be huge for the staff as he attempts to help them recruit the uncommitted prospects.
RB Augustus Edwards: Edwards pledged to SU back in July, but there have been several ups-and-downs since. He did not get to finish out his final high school season on the field because of off-the-field issues, and it all happened right around the time he snagged a big-time offer from Florida State. After admitting he wanted to take an official visit to Tallahassee shortly after, he has since slowed down his intrigue with the Seminoles. A home run official visit to the hill could wrap-up Edwadrs' recruitment for good.
QB Austin Wilson: Wilson will be in a fierce quarterback battle to try to earn the 2013 starting gig. However, he will not be enrolling in January. That will put him behind fellow incoming freshman Zach Allen. This visit could help Wilson make an impression on the staff and get familiar with his future teammates. Wilson will also be trying to help bring more talent to Syracuse, and his parents will be with him as he visits the campus.
LB Devan Carter: Carter has been receiving some interest from Rutgers as of late, and he says they have offered. While a flip is not a real concern at this point, it never hurts to drive the point home that he belongs in Orange. This visit could seal the deal for Carter.
CuseNation.com's Mike McAllister and John Garcia Jr. contributed to this report