Neal Could Get More Attention at Current Stop

Switching high schools before your senior football season might be a detriment to some potential Division I recruits, but it could probably help one Des Moines area prep who has moved up in classes.

Former Winterset all-stater Patrick Neal transferred to perennial 4A power Valley last November and could actually get more attention playing for coach Gary Swenson's Tigers, who have won state championships in two of the past three seasons.

"He was a first-team all-state 3A player and I can see why," said Swenson. "He could really dominate a game in 3A and I think he's going to be one of our better players."

According to Swenson, Neal's father Brian, a former ISU football player, will eventually relocate to California for his job. After their Winterset home sold, the family purchased a townhouse in West Des Moines so that Patrick can graduate in central Iowa.

Valley's head coach says that Neal likely would have been recruited by Division I programs regardless of the move.

"I'm sure they already knew about him," Swenson said. "I don't think the fact that he came here attracted anybody's attention, because they already knew quite a bit about him. Especially Iowa State, because of the family connection there."

Neal's older brother John is a scholarship player for Wayne Morgan's basketball team.

Patrick has more of a football frame, however. At 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, he was meant for the gridiron. He'll have the opportunity to earn Class 4A all-state honors in 2005, and Swenson said it will likely be on the defensive side.

"There he was a linebacker and fullback," Valley's head coach said. "He'll probably predominantly play on the defensive side of the ball here. Our rush end position has his hand down, but it's an edge-type player. We think we can stand him up as well, but I can see us leaving him with his hand down. He has the capacity to get real big, because he's got a big frame.

"I have looked at three tapes so that we could get an idea of positions. He looked really physical and is pretty athletic. He's very strong in the weight room and has a great work ethic. Assuming that transfers to helping his level of play on the football field, I think he's going to be a real nice player."

Neal is already getting a look from Iowa State. He attended the Cyclones' junior day last weekend. Offensive coordinator Barney Cotton visited the high school recently.

"Barney stopped in here when he was out on the road and we talked," Swenson said. "They had already seen some film on him, and he had been up for a couple of games. They've met him in person and saw what he looked like."

Iowa is also involved in Neal's recruitment.

"He's got a real good chance to be a Division I football player," Swenson added.


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