Kirkwood's McNeill Talks About Hoosiers, Others

6-4, 215-pound McNeill one of a handful of St. Louis area standouts that the IU coaching staff is pursuing for the Class of 2006.

One noticeable difference in Indiana recruiting this season has been the ability of the IU staff to grab the interest of some highly-touted recruits in some new recruiting areas. It's happening again as Indiana is still in the running for Kirkwood (Mo.) tight end Mike McNeil.

"My favorites are Nebraska and Wisconsin right now," said McNeill. "But I'm still looking at Texas Tech, UCLA, Kansas and Indiana. I would like to get a chance to visit all of those."

While the Cornhuskers and Badgers have jumped out to an early lead, McNeill said that IU Assistant Coach Matt Canada, who recruits the St. Louis area, has made a big impression on him.

"I like Indiana," said McNeill. "I talked Coach Canada a few days ago. He's the guy recruiting me. He seems awesome, I really like him."

The 6'4", 215-pound McNeill hauled in 44 passes for 806 yards and six touchdowns as a junior and runs a 4.65 40-yard dash. He considers himself as the perfect end piece for a spread offense, which often relies on having two tight ends on the field.

"I think I fit in perfectly in a spread offense," said McNeill. "I'm more of a receiving tight end than a blocking tight end. I'm going to try to improve my blocking this season. Last season I didn't do all that much blocking because we passed the ball a lot. This year we're going to run a lot more and I'll get the chance to block more."

McNeill has nine offers on the table and is waiting for a tenth. He has taken five visits so far this summer.

"I have offers from Nebraska, Wisconsin, Texas Tech, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, Northwestern, Miami of Ohio and Arkansas," said McNeill. "UCLA hasn't offered me yet, but I've been talking to their coach a lot later. They might offer me, but I'm not sure yet. I've visited Mizzou, Kansas, Michigan, Northwestern and Nebraska.

"I haven't been to Indiana yet. The visit is still up in the air right now."

While McNeill does have two favorites, he would still like to take more visits and meet more coaches before making his pick.

"I'll probably commit in the middle of our season because I'm probably going to take most of my visits," said McNeill. "I'm looking for a coaching staff that I like, a team that plays well together and how the fans are at the school. I want to play at a school where they go crazy during football games and pack the house. I'm going to look for all of that when I take my official visits and see how I like the schools and the teams before I make my decision."

In addition to his prowess on the football field, McNeill is also a starting forward on the Kirkwood basketball team, which went 17-9 this past season. McNeill averaged 4.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game.

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