State's No. 1 recruit set to announce decision
Top 2012 wide receiver/defensive back recruit Davonte Neal will announce where he intends to go to college on Feb. 21, his father told AZCentral.com.
The Scottsdale, Ariz., native is rated a five-star prospect, is the No. 8 overall recruit in the 2012 ESPNU 150 and comes in as the No. 1 ranked athlete in the class of 2012. According to 247Sports Network, Neal has eliminated Oklahoma — the new home of former UA coaches Mike Stoops and Tim Kish — and Ohio State from contention, leaving Arizona as one of four finalists. Neal has already taken official visits to Notre Dame, Arkansas and North Carolina, so expect those schools to be the other three finalists.
His father said he might drive his son to the UA on Saturday for an unofficial visit.
Neal, who hails from Chaparral High School, is nominated for the Ed Doherty Award, which will be handed out during a luncheon on Friday to the state’s best player. The 5-foot-10, 175 pound highly touted recruit is also a two-time Gatorade State Football player of the year.
In his senior season, Neal led the Chaparral High School Firebirds to a 14-1 record and the Division II state championship. On the season, he combined to score 35 touchdowns — 16 rushing, 14 receiving and five on punt and kick returns. He ran the ball 100 times for 1,317 yards, caught 62 passes for 1,113 yards and averaged 39.4 yards on kick returns.
It is unclear what position Neal would play were he to attend Arizona, but his explosiveness — he runs a 4.47 second 40-yard dash according to ESPN.com — suggests a future as a receiver, or at the very least, a returner on special teams.
Arizona’s chances of securing Neal are increased by the fact that two of Neal’s former high school teammates, along with a former coach, are taking their services to the UA. Defensive end Dylan Cozens, ranked the 48th best defensive end by Scout.com, announced his decision to enroll last week. Arizona Republic All-Arizona-selection linebacker Cody Ippolito, who is close friends with Neal, will attend the UA as well.
“I guess everyone has me going to Arizona now,” Neal told ESPN last week. “My dad said his phone has been blowing up with people asking him if it’s true. I’m not sure if it’s because a couple of my teammates signed there or because my old coach, Charlie Ragle, is now on staff there. I honestly don’t listen to rumors like that.”
Ragle, Chaparral’s former head coach, was recently hired to join head coach Rich Rodriguez’s staff as assistant director of operations.