Irish still in the running for Davonte Neal

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If Signing Day ended on a dour note, that lull between Signing Day and spring football might be filled with one final pleasant surprise. The Irish haven’t given up on chasing the final recruit on their board, Arizona’s Davonte Neal. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Neal, who led Chaparral High to back-to-back state championships is still considering Notre Dame, and has eliminated two very big fish from the running.

According to Jason Sapp of BlueandGold.com, Neal is no longer considering Ohio State or Oklahoma. “Oklahoma came in too late and Ohio State isn’t a good fit,” Luke Neal told Sapp.

The breakup with the Buckeyes is something that’s been rumored since Signing Day, when various reports said Ohio State wasn’t willing to take Neal’s commitment because their recruiting class had filled up. The elder Neal refuted that statement, but regardless of the truth, it sounds like Urban Meyer won’t be getting his hands on the two-way star.

According to Sapp’s report, Neal is going to commit on February 21st, ending a recruitment that’s long been planned to go well past Signing Day, as Davonte didn’t want to start the recruiting process until his season was over. Notre Dame has been among the leaders for Neal since day one, when Kerry Cooks was the first recruiter in the Neal’s house, and Notre Dame also received Neal’s first official visit, when both father and son headed to South Bend on December 9th.

In many ways, signing Neal could be the perfect band-aid for the Irish recruiting class. If Neal plays as a wide receiver, he could fill the rather large hole that was left when Deontay Greenberry left Notre Dame standing by the fax machine. If Neal plays cornerback in college, he could fill the hole left by Ronald Darby, who chose Florida State, and Yuri Wright, whose social networking exploits are a lesson for high schoolers everywhere.

The Neal family met for a reported three-hours on Sunday to get down to a final list of schools. Here’s what Luke Neal told Sapp about the Irish:

“You can’t go wrong with a school like Notre Dame academically. They graduate 98-percent of the players and it’s an opportunity to play on national television every week. The alumni base is strong and there’s coaching stability there. He’d have the opportunity to play right away and he loved the visit.”