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Rich Rodriguez: Notre Dame transfer Davonte’ Neal likely to sit out 2013

Davonte' Neal

Davonte’ Neal looks for running room against Michigan State last season. Photo by Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

CULVER CITY, Calif. — The Arizona Wildcats could learn the status of Notre Dame transfer receiver Davonte’ Neal late next week, although coach Rich Rodriguez is not optimistic about hearing good news.

“I don’t believe he is going to be eligible,” Rodriguez said at Pac-12 Media Day.

Neal, who attended Scottsdale Chaparral High School, left Notre Dame this spring and enrolled at Arizona in the summer. He would normally have to sit out a season but the school was applying for a waiver to the NCAA because part of the stated reason for Neal’s transfer was to be closer to his long-time girlfriend and their infant daughter in the Phoenix area.

The appeal is set to be heard Thursday, Rodriguez said.

Neal, who was mostly used as a returner as a true freshman for the Irish last season, could add some big-play potential to Rodriguez’s offense as a slot receiver. Neal (5-9, 171) was Arizona’s top recruiting target in 2012 before he chose Notre Dame.

Rodriguez said he is concerned about the overall depth at receiver after losing Austin Hill (ACL tear in the spring) and Tyler Slavin (left the team in the summer), and the coach added “David Richards might be banged up at the start of camp.” Richards, with 29 catches for 298 yards last season, is the team’s leading returning wideout.

Redshirt freshman Trey Griffey and Clive Georges will have to ready to contribute, but it looks as if help won’t be coming from Neal this season. If his appeal is denied, he would have three years of eligibility remaining, starting in 2014.

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