Sprinkled in are prospects like Davonte’ Neal, an Arizona native who the staff began recruiting earlier than most prospects from outside the Southeast.
After his sophomore season Neal camped in Baton Rouge, where the LSU staff was able to get an up close look at the 5-foot-9, 175-pounder.
“The offer came when went down there,” said Luke Neal, Davonte’s father. “LSU was very exciting for him. He had a great time down there working out at camp, and the coaches were impressed. He came home pretty happy.”
Since then Neal has kept in contact with the Tigers, from speaking with defensive backs coach Ron Cooper to letters from the staff.
“The mail and all that never stops, from any school for that matter,” he said. “He was pretty happy about the LSU one, but he’s been excited about each new scholarship. He’s just thankful that he’s worked himself into this position.”
Schools are recruiting Neal, a four-star prospect on Scout.com, at both a receiver and defensive back. Neal transferred to Chaparral this past fall, where he joined on with four-star quarterback Conner Brewer. The duo connected on 37 passes for 907 yards and 11 touchdowns. On defense Neal was in on 21 tackles and recorded five interceptions. Brewer, who will be back alongside Neal next fall, was the first 2012 commitment to the Texas Longhorns.
For now Neal is focused on preparations for track season, but visits are still possible.
Neal will take all five of his official visits, holding off a decision until at least next December.
“He wants to do the five visits, but he doesn’t have to do them during his football season,” said Luke. “Our main thing is just visiting the school and getting a feel for the staff. He’s been around some of these places and read up on them to know the atmosphere.”
A coaching staff that will stick together is another important piece to Neal’s puzzle, and Les Miles’ recent decision to turn away his alma mater for the second time and remain at LSU resonates with the Arizona product.
“He sees that and knows that a guy like coach Miles will be there throughout his entire playing career,” said Luke. “Longevity is important to him, both with the head coach and his position coach. That’s why he wants to make all these visits. He’s looking for that bond, and he wants it to be with a coach that will be there to see him graduate.”
As for a return trip to Baton Rouge, the Tigers could land a second camp visit or one of his five official trips.
“Nothing is set in stone, but he’s excited about LSU from what he saw. It’s one of the schools he’s looking hard at. It’s possible he comes back down there.”