Davonte Neal: Odds on Where the Last Major Unsigned Recruit Might Go
National Signing Day was a couple of weeks ago, but that doesn't mean every top prospect in the country has made their final decision. There is still a heavily recruited player that is still trying to decide on which team he would like to play for.
That player is cornerback Davonte Neal. He's a 4-star recruit, but he's one of the top players at his position and is a difference-maker on the defensive side of the ball. He's a versatile player who can also play wide receiver as he runs fantastic routes. With his speed, he can be a great return man as well.
He's had offers from nearly every top school in the country but has narrowed the list down to only four schools. We expect a decision to be made sometime on Feb 21.
Here are the remaining four teams Neal is considering and the odds that each team has at landing him.
Notre Dame was the first school Neal had visited back in early December, and anytime they're on the list, you have to consider them a favorite. After all, it is the Irish and they have a need for both wide receivers and secondary players. Neal could also provide the Irish with a boost in the return game considering they only averaged 3.69 yards per punt return last season.
Notre Dame offers great academics, a program just a few players away from becoming elite once again and a chance to contribute right away. Neal would like to study broadcasting and the academics really impressed him when he made his visit out to South Bend.
“They told me tonight it’s now a 100 percent graduation rate,” Neal said. “When I talked to them the first time it was 97, 98 (percent), but it went up. That’s what we talked about.”
Chances of landing Neal: 25 percent
The Arkansas Razorbacks missed out on Dorial Green-Beckham, but they are one of the schools that Neal is still heavily considering. They of course are the only school on his remaining list that plays in the SEC, which has to be very intriguing. They also have the best quarterback out of all the programs in Tyler Wilson, who threw for over 3,600 yards a year ago. He'd also have the opportunity to possibly start next year, as the Razorbacks lost quite a few receivers in the offseason.
Here are a few things Neal's father said that his son liked about the Razorbacks.
"Arkansas plays in the SEC, has a high-powered offense and he was very comfortable on his visit there."
Chances of landing Neal: 20 percent
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 really liked the way the Tar Heels plan to use him if he decides to join the Tar Heel family.
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.
Chances of landing Neal: 25 percent
Then of course there are the Arizona Wildcats, which Neal didn't need to visit to keep on his short list of schools. Neal is actually from Scottsdale, Arizona, which happens to be less than a two-hour car ride away from the Arizona campus. We know Neal likes how Rich Rodriguez plans to use him, and in his system he could really stand out. Especially with several Wildcats players leaving, he'll have the chance to make an immediate impact.
Chances of landing Neal: 30 percent
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.