Big Safety Enjoys Physical Part of Football

A football recruiting report is featured on highly regarded prospect Michael McNeil.

Mobile, Ala.--Michael McNeil is considered one of the top football prospects in the state of Alabama and it is not difficult to understand why.

In addition to having excellent size, speed and athletic ability, he also has the kind of attitude college scouts are looking for when searching for defensive backs to recruit.

"I just like to hit," he says. "If somebody comes across the middle, I am going to let them know that Michael McNeil is there.

"I try to be as aggressive as I can on the field," he notes. "I try to be ferocious."

McNeil, who is scheduled to start for a third consecutive year, is a six-foot-two safety at Davidson High School, who stands out on a team with a lot of talent. "I expect us to have a real good team this year and to go deep in the playoffs," he says. "I expect us to compete for a state championship. We have our quarterback returning, our running back returning and our defense is stacked."

Ranked a four-star prospect by Scout.com, he was named the top senior football player in the state by his hometown newspaper on Sunday.

McNeill has plenty of college offers and says that his favorites are Auburn, Alabama and Florida State. He notes that his high school team will be running some of the same defensive sets the Tigers will use this year with Will Muschamp coordinating the defense.

"We run multiple defenses and we try to confuse the quarterback a lot," he says. "We get a lot of our plays from Auburn and LSU. I am usually 10-12 yards off the line of scrimmage at safety. If I am covering the tight end I will be like seven yards off. If I am in man coverage, I am in his face."

McNeil notes that colleges are recruiting him as both a free safety and strong safety. "Some are even talking about playing me as a rover or outside linebacker," he notes. McNeil, who says he currently weighs a bit just over 200 pounds, says he believes he will continue to grow. "I don't know how big I will get, but I probably be about 225."

McNeil visited Auburn for its one-day prospect camp in July and says he learned a lot about the Tigers on the trip. "My top three schools have been Auburn, Alabama and Florida State," he says. "I had a real good visit to Florida State before going to Auburn and I got a chance to meet a lot of coaches. I can say the same thing about my visit to Auburn. I learned a lot of things about Auburn I didn't know. I thought it was real rural, but it's not and I got a chance to see the city and see a lot of students and interact with a lot of the students."

McNeill says he enjoyed meeting some of the current Auburn players, including the returning All-SEC tailback. "I hung out with Kenny Irons some," he says. "He is a real cool dude."

The Davidson High standout, who made 81 tackles as a junior, says he isn't sure when he will make his college choice. "I think I will make a decision when the time is right," he says. "I did have a time when I thought I would make the decision before the start of my senior season or early in the senior season, but my grandfather is probably going to want me to wait a little bit longer--not all of the way to the end, but long enough to make sure what is the right place for me. He is a real big influence in everything I do in my life."

His grandfather, Clifton McNeil, was an NFL All-Pro wide receiver who played his college football at Grambling.



2006 Inside the Auburn Tigers Auburn Football Guide


Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories