Focus 2006: WDM Valley's Pat Neal

It's been a couple of years since the latest most dominant team in the state, West Des Moines Valley, has sent a prospect to Iowa City. Alex Willcox was the last Tiger to venture eastward, and Josh Clark introduces you to a Class of 2006 prep who is quickly gaining notoriety in central Iowa...

Following a First Team All-State season as a junior this past fall, there was not a lot of hype surrounding Pat Neal. Thus, Neal decided to help him gain more notoriety he was going to transfer to West Des Moines Valley, coached by Gary Swenson, which is considered by many as the top prep football program in the state.

"Just from watching game film of three of his games last fall, it was very easy to see that teams ran away from him," said Swenson. "He is very physical, and a very good athlete at nearly 230 pounds. We are going to play him with his hand down at rush end, but part of the problem that exists is schools aren't sure where to play him. I can easily see him getting much bigger, and in the long term playing on the inside."

"He can be 260 plus pounds and keep his mobility, easily. To give an example of his athleticism, he was able to go out for track this spring and was our discus and shot put thrower. Still, he was a state qualifier in the high jump, which is pretty remarkable when you think about. He is also probably the strongest kid that I have ever had in the weight room."

Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Kansas, and Northern Illinois all stopped by Valley to get a first hand look this month. As of now, Neal will camp at Iowa and Iowa State, but it is likely he'll also make stops at Kansas State and Kansas.

"I really believe he is a division one football player. There is a lot of familiarity with Iowa State as his brother, John, currently plays basketball there, and his father, Brian, formerly played football there. Pat is just a plain out football player, and I'll be pretty disappointed if he isn't one of the top players in Class 4A this season. He is a pretty good football player," said Swenson.

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