After being introduced by his head coach as the state's No. 1 prospect, the safety wasted little time in announcing he will play for the Auburn Tigers.
"I would just like to thank God for giving me the opportunity to go visit these schools and (He) blessed me with the talent to go out and play football, which is something I love.
"This process has been long for me. At the end there were four schools recruiting me real hard. Alabama, Auburn, Florida State and Tennessee. It was a real tough decision, but in the end I felt the Auburn Tigers were the best place for me to commit.
"I chose Auburn because of the system they ran," he says. "I had a real good relationship with Coach Willis and Coach Muschamp from day one. They were first team to offer me. They never neglected me or overlooked me. They always recognized by talent." James Willis recruits the Mobile area for Auburn. Will Muschamp is the secondary coach and defensive coordinator.
"When I went down there (Auburn) it was a family setting--the depth chart, they need safeties. I am trying to come in and play right off the top."
McNeil said he knew in his heart that Auburn was his favorite, but he didn't make his final decision until several days ago.
"The official visit was good," he said. "Me being able to sit down with Coach Muschamp and just go over the plans, the schemes and the defenses, that really opened my eyes to Auburn."
One of the country's more heavily recruited safety prospects, the 6-2, 200 McNeil had offers from just about every top school in the region because of his combination of size and speed. After taking visits to Auburn, Florida State and Alabama in consecutive weeks and enduring the full court press from each school, McNeil says that in the end he felt more comfortable with Auburn than anywhere else he visited.
Rated the No. 16 safety prospect in the country by Scout.com, McNeil had a strong senior season for Davidson as he made 90 tackles and also added three interceptions, two sacks and one forced fumble. As a junior McNeil made 81 tackles with four interceptions and two sacks.
McNeil was considered an important recruit for Coach Tommy Tuberville and the Auburn coaching staff with limited depth at the safety position. With starters Eric Brock and Aairon Savage returning the starting spots are in good hands, but Tristan Davis is the only healthy backup at the position with sophomore Lorenzo Ferguson undergoing shoulder surgery prior to Auburn's Cotton Bowl victory over Nebraska. With Ferguson's future in question McNeil says that the chance to contribute early was also a big factor in his decision to choose the Tigers.
McNeil becomes Auburn's 23rd commitment and the second this week joining the most recent commitment, linebacker Adam Herring out of Springdale, Ark. Tuberville's Tigers are putting together a very strong class that includes such highly ranked players as Ryan Pugh and Eltoro Freeman from Alabama, quarterback Kodi Burns and offensive tackle Lee Ziemba from Arkansas, offensive lineman Chaz Ramsey from Mississippi and tailback Enrique Davis from Florida.
With players such as linebacker Josh Bynes of Boyd Anderson High in Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., defensive end Antoine Carter of Dillard High in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and athlete Nick Fairley of Williamson High in Mobile strongly considering the Tigers the stage is set for an even stronger finish to what looks to be one of the nation's top recruiting classes for Tuberville's Tigers.
(More to come.)