Class 6A is well represented with top performers who made a difference in last week's contests. The…
Alabama Athlete has Offer
It was not too long after that, that Neal received his first scholarship offer.
"I guess he liked what he saw," Neal said.
Neal says the offer was made official when he received a letter in the mail with his written scholarship offer shortly after.
"It made me feel like all the hard work was actually starting to pay off," he said.
Neal doesn't know much about the South Carolina program, but has been impressed with his recruiter of record, Ward.
"He seems like a pretty good coach," he said. "All of the stuff that he told me about South Carolina defensive-wise, he seems like he's brought them a long ways."
Neal, who has played fullback, linebacker, wide receiver, safety, cornerback, kicker and return man, is planning to potentially see South Carolina for the first time this summer. He is hoping for the chance to play defensive back at the next level. The under-the-radar athlete is also receiving interest from Louisville, Stanford, Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Southern Miss among others.
While Neal has visited perennial SEC powers like Alabama and LSU multiple times, the school he grew up pulling for might come as a surprise.
"I just grew up liking Southern Miss," he said. "The academic program, they help out their student athletes. But of course every college does, but they give you that personal one-on-one time. On the field, they basically get in-depth coaching you because they don't have as many [stars] as the other big colleges, so you can learn more form the coaches instead of having to sit back and not get to practice that much."
Neal grew up watching the Golden Eagles on television and has a relative who played there before going on to the NFL. That connection has Southern Miss out front.
"My No. 1 choice would have to be Southern Miss. And after Southern Miss it would probably be South Carolina."
Neal said that while it won't be the biggest factor, location could be an issue when it comes to his decision.
"I mean it's wherever. I mean I do have a thing with the distance, but a scholarship is a scholarship. And you may not like leaving home, but you've just got to make some sacrifices.
But don't expect Neal to make the decision to leave home anytime soon. He says he plans to wait it out and see what other offers come in. The versatile athlete knows what he is looking for in the program he ultimately picks.
"One, of course I want to get my degree first, and if football takes me further it takes me further. I like playing football, but everybody can't make a career out of football. So, the No. 1 thing is getting an education."
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