WR Levin Neal (5-11, 180 pounds, 4.4-seconds in the 40) from Ashley High School in Wilmington, NC didn't have the senior year he expected to have. He broke his ankle early in the season and was relegated to the role of bystander before making a sooner-than-expected recovery late in the year.
I got to play in about the last three games," Neal told Pack Pride. "I played sparingly, probably a half or so and had a few catches."
However, Neal amazed the Shrine Bowl scouts in attendance over the summer when he ripped off a 4.25-second (hand-timed) 40-yard dash. That effort all but secured him a spot on the North Carolina Shrine Bowl roster despite missing most of the 2004 season.
While at the Shrine Bowl practices, Neal tweaked his leg again and made the decision not to risk further injury. The senior wide-out said the setback was a major disappointment.
"My ankle was a little stiff," he said. I practiced on it the first couple of days but I didn't want to mess it up any more.
"It was disappointing not to be able to play. But even if I had pushed through practice all week, I was never going to be 100% so it would have been just as disappointing to play and not do my best when I was out there."
NC State landed Neal over Virginia Tech and Maryland earlier this month. Many had thought Neal would wait until later next month before settling on a future school but his official visit to NC State on Dec 3 was enough to put the Pack over the top.
"I always had them in the back of my mind because they were so close to home," said Neal. "I liked all the new stuff they've got and the facilities. Plus, I just liked the atmosphere. Being close to home was big though. My dad's got a business and it's not a very long drive for him to come to home games."
With Neal in the fold, State now goes to work on his talented teammate, WR Geron James. Neal said that, as of right now, he's not sure what James has in mind.
"My dad's been working on Geron but I don't know," said Neal. "My dad's been helping him on the SAT. He comes up to my dad's office every day and they work on that and he's just trying to help Geron out in getting ready for the SAT."