McNeal eager to get to Clemson

When July 28 comes along, Bryce McNeal will look at life in an entirely different light.

Why? Because it will begin the next chapter in his life.

"I'm getting myself mentally prepared for what is to come," the Clemson signee said earlier this week. "I'm going to be away from my parents and growing up on my own now. It's not just a football thing."

McNeal is prepping himself because he will be a thousand miles or more away from his family when he reports to Clemson on July 28 for fall practice. He realizes by picking a school so far from home that his support system will not physically be there, though he understands he is just a phone call away from any advice or ears he needs to bend.

"When I went (to Clemson), I realized everyone is from that area, maybe a half hour to an hour drive or something like that," the Minneapolis, Minn., native said. "Tajh (Boyd) is 15 minutes away now and (Jonathan) Meeks is about 30 minutes away so I'm the only person that has to get on a plane to get home so it is different that they will be able to go home and I can't."

But that should just be a temporary problem for McNeal, as his family is looking into moving to either Charlotte or Atlanta in the coming year. Until then, he says he is going to work on forming a bond with his teammates and coaches so he will have a strong family in Clemson as well as one at home.

"I'm worried, obviously, because everyone is worried when you leave for college and your home state, but at the same time I'm excited and ready to pursue something new," he said.

What he is ready to pursue is a career in football that he hopes ends with him being the best wide receiver he can be for the Clemson Tigers. The first signee from the state of Minnesota since 1968, McNeal was rated as a four-star recruit by Scout.com after grabbing more than 72 passes for more than 1,100 yards in his high school career.

With a receiving group that is considered as one of the weak links on this year's team, McNeal hopes he can come in and help a group that he thinks is as talented and deep as any position Clemson has.

"Obviously, I want my position core to be strong, but right now (the media) says it's questionable, but I hope I can come in and help and try to compete," he said. "I will just work as hard as I can and go from there.

"But the other guys all look like ballers to me. They are D-I athletes and they are there for a reason. I'm pretty sure they are going to be okay. Plus, everyone is talking about our receivers, but Jacoby did not practice really that much in the spring and Jacoby is obviously a big factor."

McNeal is doing everything he can to make sure he is a factor. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound receiver is already working out a lot with his stepfather Melvin Moore, a former NFL player who played with the Steelers and the Vikings, and he plans, like the last couple of summers, to workout with All-Pro wideout Larry Fitzgerald.

"It helps to be around guys like that," McNeal said. "Being with people that have been successful and made it there, it just makes you realize more and more that it is possible. All you have to do is go out and grab it. It is there for the taking."

After working out with his stepfather, McNeal says he spends about 30-minutes a day running routes and catching passes. When he gets the opportunity to workout with Fitzgerald, he just listens to what he tells him and tries to learn as much as he can.

"I just listen to what he says and absorb it whether it is a positive or a negative, and I try to be successful in what I have been doing."

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