It took a year or two, but wide receiver Davonte’ Neal has eventually made his way back to Arizona. According to Jason Sapp of 247Sports, the former Notre Dame player has decided he will become an Arizona Wildcat after recently transferring from South Bend.
Neal went to high school in the Arizona area and was seriously considering picking the home school before landing with the Irish. A recruiting story that was fishy heading down the home stretch, it appeared that it came down to Arizona and Notre Dame to the very last second.
So why did the talented receiver have a change of heart? Well, according to the report, this is a family decision and allows him to be closer to his young daughter.
“The primary reason I chose Arizona was because it was close to my family and my daughter can come see me everyday – that was the most important to me and having that family support,” Neal said. “The way Coach Rodriguez throws the ball around is amazing. They do it the entire game. I’ll have an opportunity to play inside and outside receiver in the offense. He does know how to get the ball in his players’ hands and from there they make plays.”
As for the football side of things, Neal will be forced to sit out the entire upcoming season due to NCAA rules. However, this switch should benefit the young man in a big way. Head coach Rich Rodriguez offenses are some of the more balanced in the country, usually producing video game numbers in the air. This will make for a drastic change of pace from what Neal experienced back with Notre Dame his freshman year.
Neal was a 4-star recruit according to Rivals, and was known for his speed and playmaking ability. In an offense that thrives on mismatches and putting guys in space, this transfer could develop into something special if the cards are played right.
While Neal may have left Notre Dame after just one year, he still wanted to thank the university for everything it has done, and he won't forget the memories. (Irish fans can also read a letter written by the Neal family, per the Sapp report)
“I can’t stress enough how much Notre Dame has done for me and the support I have received from the coaching staff,” he said. “I just want to thank them for having the opportunity to be part of something special.”
For Rodriguez and the entire Arizona program, this is a pickup that should benefit the offense greatly moving forward.