Feb 15, 2012, 11:49 AM EDT
Three weeks after coming up on the short end of the stick on Signing Day, the Irish might be getting the impact receiver they’ve been in search of this recruiting class. Multiple reports have Davonte Neal ready to select a school, with the talented two-way player making his announcement on February 21st. The blue-chip athlete and player of the year in the state of Arizona, who could play wide receiver or cornerback in college, has Notre Dame in his finalists along with Arizona, Arkansas and North Carolina.
If Notre Dame fans are feeling optimistic, it’s because of the recent tweet from the National Football Post’s Dion Caputi, who stated he’s “been told by a source close to 4-star WR/CB Davonte Neal that the last available star player ‘sounds for sure’ headed to Notre Dame.”
The Neal family has been tight-lipped throughout the recruiting process, something they started after Davonte’s high school season ended. While Neal would fill a pressing need for the Irish at either slot receiver or cornerback, not to mention add a true weapon in the return game, every program still in the running has a sales pitch that fits for a player like Neal, who some recruiting services have pegged as the top all-purpose athlete in the country.
The Neal family has consistently praised the recruiting job Notre Dame has done with the family, and Kerry Cooks was the first coach in the door to see Neal when the family started his recruitment in December. After an official visit to South Bend attended by both father and son, Notre Dame has been in good position, especially after Neal either dropped or was dropped (depending on the story you read) by Ohio State.
We’ll find out for sure were Neal is going on Tuesday, when he makes his announcement from his former grade school in Scottsdale. He’d be the 17th commitment to the class of 2012, and either the third wide receiver or second true cornerback in the class.