The South Carolina Gamecocks are gradually picking up the pace in 2014 recruiting, yet they have already made a splash in the 2015 recruiting class by landing wide receiver Dexter Neal.
Neal provided South Carolina with a verbal commitment Thursday, which gives the Gamecocks a potential big-time wide receiver for the future.
The recruitment of Neal also continues the established trend of Spurrier and his staff landing players from Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain, Ga.
According to Will Ayers of TheBigSpur.com:
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound wideout is the fifth player to commit to the Gamecocks from Stephenson in the past three years. The Gamecocks landed Kadetrix Marcus, also known as J.J., in the 2011 recruiting cycle. Kyle Fleetwood and Mike Davis signed with the USC in 2012, and in a few months class of 2013 cornerback Ali Groves is expected to enroll in summer classes.
Continued success with established recruiting grounds has been a staple of Spurrier's tenure at USC, and Neal is no exception.
At 6'2", 195 pounds as just a sophomore, Neal still has time to get even bigger. He has a solid wide receiver frame as is, but this kid's ceiling is high.
Neal's intense work ethic drives him on and off the football field and can push him to new levels.
When William Gunter of TheBigSpur.com asked Neal about "what he brings to the table," Neal claimed "I just work hard, I work my hardest whenever I can."
That sort of attitude and Neal's skill set is probably what drove the Gamecocks to issue an offer to him early.
The combination of an early offer at a school that makes Neal feel at home and South Carolina already landing multiple teammates and friends of Neal definitely led to Neal's quick decision.
Neal's teammate and 2014 recruit Bryson Allen-Williams have been friends for a long time and Allen-Williams may have played a role in the recruitment of Neal. Allen-Williams stood alongside Neal during his interview and fielded some questions with William Gunter of TheBigSpur.com, as seen in this video.
Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward and wide receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. headed the recruiting effort to land Neal. Neal developed a strong relationship with Ward and recognized that Spurrier Jr. understands how to coach receivers all the way down to the minor details.
Neal told Will Ayers of TheBigSpur.com, "Coach Ward, he is a pretty cool guy, funny. He gets along with people, [...] Coach Jr., he is a good coach. From what we saw when I went up to my visit he likes to work you, and he works on the small stuff to get your technique better."
These coach-player relationships were key for Neal's decision and also learning about the South Carolina football environment.
The Gamecocks are still a couple years away from seeing Neal don the garnet and black uniform and he could pull his verbal commitment, though that seems rather unlikely. Neal has so many connections with the players and staff at USC and likes the feel of the Gamecocks program.
It is now a waiting game until Neal steps onto the field.
Neal is a great recruit for 2015 and has huge potential as a big-bodied wide receiver who could emerge as a top receiver in the future.