Davonte’ Neal waited nearly three weeks after Signing Day to set up a major announcement for his college decision … and then didn’t show up.
There was a 35-minute program set up at his former elementary school — Kyrene de la Esperanza, where about 600 children were pulled out of class to sit on the floor while waiting for a high school football star.
The whole thing, even if it had gone off as planned, had enough “ick” factor to make you run to take a shower.
The kids ended up seeing Neal’s highlight video, but not Neal.
There was no official word from the family, but speculation from the Arizona Republic’s Dick Obert, appearing on the live webcast on FoxSportsArizona.com, was that there was a late clash of wills in the Neal family.
Davonte’ apparently has wanted to attend Arizona. His father, Luke Neal, is pushing for Notre Dame.
Arkansas and North Carolina have been the other finalists. Oklahoma and Florida tried to get in late, but were rebuffed. Ohio State wanted Neal but didn’t want to wait past Signing Day for a decision.
The Arizona-Notre Dame power struggle fits with the narrative I have heard for a while, although reports were that a decision had been made last week.
So, what happened in the final hours? Right now, who really knows?
The family has welcomed the spotlight, with Luke quoted frequently and inviting reporters in for extended interviews, such as with ESPN.com and then welcoming Inna Lazarev of Scout.com into their house on Tuesday night.
Now, the Neals have the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Not showing up for their look-at-me press conference is the latest and greatest example for the excess in football and basketball recruiting.
What happens now with Neal? Stay tuned.
Neal, a receiver/cornerback from Scottsdale Chaparral High School, is a Parade All-American and a two-time Gatorade state player of the year.
He caught 62 passes for 1,113 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, also rushing 100 times for 1,317 yards and 16 touchdowns. He broke up 12 passes on defense and was noted as a standout kick returner, returning five for touchdowns.
Neal is nationally rated:
–No. 8 by ESPNU
–No. 53 by 247Sports
–No. 66 by MaxPreps.com
–No. 74 by Scout.com
–No. 107 by Rivals.com
Related: Is Davonte’ Neal worth it?