The offer came from Mississippi State. Bulldogs' wide receivers coach Tim Brewster extended the offer to the 5-foot-10, 160-pound Neal.
"It felt good to get the offer," Neal said. "Right now to this day, I'm still shocked that I got a big-time SEC offer."
"They are just recruiting me as an athlete because they don't know how I'm going to develop over the years."
The offer will be the first of many for the freshman running back, who played for Forestview's varsity squad this fall.
"It was a good experience," said Neal. "It was a big jump coming straight out of middle school to the varsity level. The game speed was a lot faster. So, I had to adjust a little bit, but I think I caught on and had a decent year for a freshman."
"A lot of the seniors took me under their wing and showed me the way. They guided me and I had the best senior class that I could have asked for."
He knows his strengths as a player, but also said is working to improve in certain areas during the offseason.
"I think I'm an elusive player," he said. "I like to get outside into open space, like a Percy Harvin-type player."
"During the offseason, I'm going to be working on my agility and speed in and out of my cuts."
Mississippi State is not the only school showing early interest in Neal.
During football season, he was able to take some trips.
"I went to Mississippi State, Ole Miss, N.C. State, and North Carolina," he said. "All the visits were good."
This summer Neal already has one camp scheduled.
"The only one I have lined up right now is Oregon," he said. "I think their offense would suit me. I like the speed of their offense and the way they run and gun."
Despite all of the early attention, the freshman will take his time with the recruiting process.
"Being so young, I'm just weighing my options and seeing which schools I like the best," Neal said.
Going forward, the Jaguars' freshman will look to build off of his success from last season.
"Next fall, I just want to continue to progress, and I don't want to have a sophomore slump," he said. "I also want to lead Forestview past the first round of the playoffs. I don't think our school has ever made it out of the first round. We have a lot of talent coming back and should be able to make a deep playoff run."