Recruiting Update: Josh McNeil

Collins (MS) High School center Josh McNeil, one of the top offensive linemen in the nation, talked recruiting with Gene's Page.

Josh McNeil Profile:

A U.S. Army High School All-American Bowl game selection, Josh was very busy last week, the last week prior to the December dead period. Not only did he receive visits from assistant and head coaches, but he also received numerous daily phone calls.

"(MSU head) Coach Croom came in Monday. (LSU assistant coach) Muschamp came for lunch Tuesday. I was with him until about 1:00 to 1:30. I went and got me a little bit of a workout and (Tennessee head) Coach Fulmer came around 3:15 and stayed until about 7:45 to 8:00 o'clock.

"I was receiving about 5 calls a day. I'm kind of glad Christmas is here, so that I can get away from everything for awhile. Mississippi State, Florida, Tennessee, Ole Miss and LSU are calling. (Florida head) Coach Meyer and (Ole Miss head) Coach Orgeron called, but I told them I wasn't interested. The way I look at it is it's confusing enough with three schools and I wasn't going to add two more to the fire. That would have been too much."

The last time I talked to Josh he felt that he would be ready to announce his commitment prior to Christmas. It's now December 21st, four days away from Christmas. Is that still in his plans?

"I don't know about that. I'm just going to make it whenever I feel ready to. If it's before then, that's fine, but if it's not, then I'm going to make it when I feel ready."

Are his favorites the same as before; Mississippi State, LSU and Tennessee?

"Yes sir, my top three schools are Mississippi State, Tennessee and LSU."

Does one lead either of the other two?

"They are all even right now. I like all three so much that none of them stick out above the others. It's going to be one of those things where you are going to have to have a picture to judge (who won the race). It's that close right now. That's why it's so confusing. Right now, I'm just trying to weigh the positives and negatives between all of them and, hopefully, come up with the right decision."

One thing that has thrown a monkey wrench in his recruiting process and probably the reason he will now wait until after Christmas is the possibility that, according to newspaper, radio and internet reports, Nick Saban, the LSU head football coach, may be leaving LSU for the Miami Dolphins of the NFL. What does he feel about that possibility?

"It has kind of threw a pretty big curveball into all of this, but I'm really not ready to make a decision anyway. I would like to see what happens there. I would be doing that if it was any of the schools possibly losing their head coach."

However, even if Saban does leave, it appears that Josh will still consider them since the head coach is only part of the reason they made his final list.

"When this process started, I tried to make it so that I chose a school not just because of the head coach, but whether I could picture myself going to school there. Any university is bigger than one man."

While the head coaches are an important aspect in his decision and the schools themselves are even more important, how much of a factor will having his older brother, Chris McNeil, on the Mississippi State football team play into his decision?

"He wants his baby brother to come play with him. Two McNeils beside each other would be a pretty cool deal, but he just tells me to make the best decision for me and go wherever I feel I want to go."

Coaches calling, coaches visiting, recruiting services calling him..has the pressure been more than he can handle the past few weeks?

"With so much going on, a lot of pressure is put on you, but I guess the pressure comes mainly from myself. Signing day is February 2nd, which may be a long way away for some people, but it's not that long if you think about it."

Since the schools appear to be dead even, how is he going to be able to separate one school from the other two by signing day?

"I guess I'm going to have to talk to my family a lot and pray a lot and, hopefully, come up with the right choice."

Keep it right here for the latest news on Josh McNeil.

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Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at swindoll@genespage.com.

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