Cue the speculation.
No Arizona Wildcats recruiting target in the 2012 class received as much attention as receiver Davonte’ Neal.
He dragged his recruitment a couple of weeks past signing day, and then was four hours late for a planned announcement in front of about 600 school children at his former elementary school.
Neal eventually signed with Notre Dame over Arizona (and Arkansas and North Carolina) but is back on the market, according to a report from 247Sports.com. The website quotes his father, Luke Neal, as saying his son is transferring and heading back west to be closer to his girlfriend and their 6-week-old daughter.
Neal was the Irish’s punt returner last season, albeit with limited success. The high school Parade All-American returned 21 punts for 46 yards, an average of 2.2 yards per attempt.
Neal, who was a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year in Arizona, played for coach Charlie Ragle at Scottsdale Chaparral High School. Ragle joined Rich Rodriguez’s administrative staff after the 2011 season and is in his first season working on the field for UA, in charge of the tight ends and overseeing the special teams units.
We’ll see how much drama is involved with his recruitment the second time around, and if it involves the Wildcats. His father suggested that a school in California might be a good fit. Richard Obert at the Arizona Republic writes that Luke Neal had a falling out with Ragle after his son’s senior year.
(As the recruiting process dragged out in February 2012, I asked, ‘Is Davonte’ Neal worth it?“)
Neal would have to sit out the 2013 season; he would have three years of eligibility remaining after that. Arizona does have a scholarship available for the 2013 class.