LSU offer impresses Neal

2013 North Carolina linebacker Lewis Neal is set to visit Baton Rouge.

As spring evaluations turn to summer camps in the next few weeks, a new name has emerged on the LSU defensive radar: Lewis Neal.

At 6-foot-2 and 211 pounds, Neal is a combination defensive end/linebacker, once committed to Ohio State, but now back on the open market.

"LSU wants me to play defensive end, but I could also come into a camp setting and get looks at linebacker to see how I fit," Neal said. "I can get to the quarterback, and I can tear up an offensive lineman when he gets in front of me.

"I think my game can be compared to Courtney Upshaw, or someone like that."

Neal committed to Ohio State on April 23 after visiting Columbus for the Buckeyes' spring game, but seven days later – the same day he received an offer from LSU – the Wilson, N.C., native reopened his recruitment process.

"I just needed to think about things, because I wasn't pumped up about it," Neal said. "My mind was racing, and now it feels better to be back open. I just did it too early. I really wasn't ready for it.

"Now when I commit I want to be serious about it. I made a mistake and got caught up in a trip. This time around I will go home and think about it and talk with my family. I don't want to do it in a hurry anymore."

What's the new timetable for a decision?

"I would like to look at a couple of schools, then commit somewhere in late July or August," Neal said. "That will give me time to really know where I want to be, then get things out of the way so I can focus on my senior year."

Neal, who has a double-digit offer sheet that includes North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, said the scholarship offer from the Tigers holds serious weight, enough so that Neal considers LSU one of his finalists.

"I really like LSU a lot," Neal said. "It's LSU, so what's not to like?

"The coaches have been after me a long time, and (LSU linebackers coach and defensive coordinator John Chavis) visited the school already this spring.

"I also want to major in kinesiology, and the coaches say that LSU has a great program for that. Now it's all about me getting over for a visit."

On the phone with Les Miles earlier this week, Neal gathered details on what his trip to Baton Rouge could be like.

"Coach Miles just kept telling me how he is ready for me to come and spend time with him," Neal said. "He really wants me to make it to campus and see it all in person. Talking with (Miles) really helped me see where I stood with LSU. He sort of took things over the top.

"I am looking for that head coach that I can lean on, and Coach Miles seems like that kind of guy."

Neal said Miles joins Ohio State coach Urban Meyer as the lone two head coaches who have kept in contact – not leaving it up to assistants alone to help reel the North Carolina product into the fold.

"LSU and Ohio State stand out because of how their coaches recruit," Neal said. "That was big for me to have that one-on-one time. That is your head coach, so if you have a really good relationship with your head coach, then you feel much better about playing the game.

"My coach now trusts me a lot, and I want that same trust in college. Whenever he needs something, I will be there. When I need someone to tell me when I am right and wrong, I want a coach that can be there.

"I think Coach Miles fits those things. I know he gets fired up, and I like a coach that fires you up. I like someone that can help the team get hype."

The biggest question after how Neal reacts to his LSU campus visit becomes distance.

"It really is all about distance when it comes to things holding me back from a school like LSU or Ohio State," Neal said. "The family can't come across the country all the time, so I need to find somewhere that I can start a new life and create a new family. That way I don't feel like I left home, but just made a new one."


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