Will family reasons lead Davonte’ Neal to the University of Arizona?by Anthony Gimino on Feb. 16, 2012, under Arizona football, Arizona football recruiting
I have no clue where Scottsdale Chaparral High star Davonte’ Neal will go to college.
But some people know. The Arizona Republic’s Dick Obert — who has been the lead source of information coming from the Neal family — wrote Wednesday night that the decision has been made and that the appropriate coach has been informed.
Neal, a receiver/cornerback/returner, has four finalists — Arizona, Arkansas, North Carolina and Notre Dame.
If the winning coach has been informed, that means three other head coaches know they didn’t win the sweepstakes.
Will everybody be able to keep the decision a secret before Neal makes an announcement on Tuesday morning?
There has been ample speculation regarding Neal’s potential destination, with solid reasons to go to each school, but Obert wrote Wednesday night he now thinks “UA has the best shot.” He was changing his tune from a couple of days earlier, when he posited that Notre Dame and Arkansas were the leaders.
Obert is interpreting comments from Neal’s dad, Luke Neal, who has been the spokesman during his son’s recruiting process.
“Over time, he processed everything with his cousin and stuff,” Luke told the Arizona Republic, referring to a younger female cousin who died after being struck by a car on Jan. 30.
“Putting things in perspective led to where he should go. He saw some of the things through his own insights, and family, as well. It was how he came to finding out where he needed to go. …
“It’s the best school for him, the school that he chose, because of everything that happened to him. He’s had time to think, reflect on what has happened to him. Having played football in Arizona, he had time to think whether he wants to stay in Arizona or leave Arizona. He put it in more perspective on what’s best for him.”
Certainly, being in Tucson would keep him close to family, as well as his best friend — linebacker Cody Ippolito, who signed with Arizona — and his former high school coach. Charlie Ragle is now with UA coach Rich Rodriguez as a liaison to in-state recruiting. On the other hand, he also has a grandmother who lives in North Carolina.
Davonte’ is rated the eighth-best prospect in the country by ESPNU and is the only member of the ESPNU’s Top 150 that has not signed a letter of intent.