On Tuesday, Riley introduced McNeil and defensive end Demario Ambrose, who committed to Arkansas prior to McNeil's announcement that he will follow former Davidson High teammate Gabe McKenzie to Auburn. McKenzie played this season at tight end as a redshirt freshman and was a heavily recruited player two years ago.
"I reflect back to Gabe McKenzie," Riley said. "Gabe McKenzie set the standard here in how to go about being recruited and how to go through the process and maintain a position of leadership in the program and maintain a position that Davidson is still first, although I am being courted by all of these other people.
"Michael never forgot that he was first and foremost a Davidson Warrior during this season," the coach noted. "I think he learned that from Gabe. He (McNeil) has been a role model for our kids down the road who want to follow in his footsteps."
McNeil announced his decision without any hats or other props. He was dressed in Davidson's colors, black and gold, and didn't waste time in announcing he was going to Auburn after Ambrose picked the Razorbacks.
"It is a lot of pressure off my chest," said the safety, who is ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the state by The Huntsville Times. "You know what I am saying because whatever school I commit to, Auburn, I am solid--100 percent.
"I am going to go in and work hard. The monkey is off my back now. I appreciate everybody that recruited me and thought highly of me as a football player and a recruit, but now it is time to move on. All of this stuff we did in high school is over. It is time to see what is up at the college level."