Ohio State Football Recruiting: The Latest on 5-Star CB Davonte Neal

Randy ChambersAnalyst IJanuary 31, 2012

National signing day is less than a day away, and players from all over the country will be making their official commitments to one lucky school. And while everybody is focusing on tomorrow's big day, a few prospects will likely put their decision on hold for a week or two.

One of those top players is cornerback Davonte Neal. He's rated as one of this year's top corners but is versatile and has the ability to play special teams as well as wide receiver. He has excellent speed to keep up with receivers on defense and contribute on kick and punt returns. He also runs great routes on the offensive side of the ball. He's a playmaker with the ball in his hands and can contribute right away for whichever team he commits to.

Ohio State has been pushing really hard for his services, but he also has offers from Notre Dame, Arizona, Arkansas and North Carolina, all schools he has visited or plans to visit real soon. Oklahoma is another school that's in the running as well.

Neal just came back from his trip to North Carolina, and he really enjoyed his trip and some of the ways they'd like to use him.

They said they want me at receiver, returning punts, kicks and playing on defense too in the nickel package. They’re the only ones along with Arizona that have talked to me about playing both ways. They said they want the ball in my hands and if I sign there, they said the plan is for me to return the opening kickoff of the season so they got me pretty excited.

The Tar Heels may not be as big as some of the other programs he's looking at, but being able to use his talents on every side of the ball has to be enticing for the young man. With his athletic ability and speed, he shouldn't be limited to just one side of the football, especially when he's talented at both corner and wide receiver. Not to mention Neal's grandmother (who he's extremely close to) lives in the area, so North Carolina has to be a very attractive option at this point.

Neal also had an official visit scheduled with Arizona in early February but may decide to switch it for an official visit to Oklahoma. If that does happen, he'll likely still make an unofficial visit out to Arizona. This now makes Oklahoma a serious contender for his services, and the recent hire of recruiting coordinator and linebacker coach Tim Kish is a big reason for it. He is a former Arizona recruiting coordinator who knows the Neal family.

The Buckeyes are still a team that Neal is heavily considering, but there appear to be a few teams that have made a strong case for him as well. With at least one visit and possibly two more to go, don't expect a decision on national signing day. A commitment sometime in the middle of February is more likely from one of the nation's talented athletes.

Randy Chambers is a B/R Featured Columnist that covers College Football and the NFL. You can contact him @Randy_Chambers or Randy.Chambers7@yahoo.com