NYC trio taking ‘Cuse official together

Augustus Edwards, Ebenezer Ogundeko & Laray Smith

Each of Syracuse's top in-state targets has already been to campus this year, but getting them on an official visit was always the priority. Led by running back commit Augustus Edwards, the three top targets will all be able to take in Syracuse together – for the first time.

Augustus Edwards was a Syracuse lean for a long time, and he made his commitment public knowledge in July. While the Orange has not had another football pledge since, the three-star running back from Staten Island (N.Y.) Tottenville has been doing his best to help SU lock down some of the top targets left on its board.

The process of trying to recruit fellow targets is a bit easier for Edwards as opposed to a guy like quarterback commit Zach Allen – who lives in Texas. Instead, Edwards can catch a train to nearby boroughs to contact either Ebenezer Ogundeko or Laray Smith if a phone call is not enough.

His diligence and Syracuse's consistent effort with Ogundeko and Smith has worked to the point that all three will officially visit on the weekend of December 8, CuseNation.com has learned. Syracuse will also have a handful of commits, including Allen, Austin Wilson and Devan Carter, on hand for official visits that weekend to help out with the process.

The Orange staff has always tried to surround big official visitor weekends around a basketball game, to provide a different experience for players inside the Carrier Dome, and this time is no different. The highly-ranked ‘Cuse hoops squad will take on Monmouth on the 8th, which is a Saturday. Big weekends in which commits can mix in with top targets has led to verbal pledges before, and the staff – as well as Edwards – hopes it can duplicate the success in December.

But for this group – Edwards, Ogundeko and Smith – it's as important as ever. Syracuse has made it a point to "lock down" New York City, and the three are the top talents in assistant John Anselmo's territory for the 2013 cycle. Each has previously spoken to CuseNation.com about the city atmosphere, its connection to SU and what it may mean to play with a familiar face at the BCS level.

"It's about being close to home," Oguneko, who has dozens of offers and also views schools like Ole Miss, Clemson and Florida highly, said earlier this year. "With Syracuse moving to the ACC, I could be with the rest of the people that's from New York trying to win an ACC Championship."

"Syracuse has an edge right now, I know a lot of athletes there," said Smith, who is considering West Virginia and Tennessee as well, in August. "I feel more comfortable going to an in-state school knowing that I'll be safe and everything. If I have to go home (from Syracuse), I can take a trip right back. If I went to Purdue or anywhere (else), I'd have to take a plane."

For Edwards, who has openly talked about the desire to play with Ogundeko at the next level in a "package deal," getting any of the top talents in the region to stay at "home" is a big deal. He has admitted to recruiting his close friend on several occasions and Smith is a pure speed runner, something that would theoretically compliment a guy like Edwards or vice versa.

But no matter how close Edwards is to his fellow city prospects, it will come down to Doug Marrone and company sealing the deal with all three players during the first week of December. Edwards was recently offered by Florida State, and he has expressed interest in taking an official visit to Tallahassee in addition to one to Syracuse.

CuseNation.com's Mike McAllister contributed to this report

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