While Sunday evenings are normally a time for kicking back and getting ready for the upcoming week, such is not the case for LB/TE Chris Neild from Stroudsburg (Pa) High School. An 8:30 pm call found the all-state linebacker headed to his coach's house to review film for the week's upcoming game. That kind of dedication has helped ignite a recent flurry of recruiting attention as Neild has emerged as one of the east coast's hottest rising prospects.
At 6-3, 275 pounds and boasting 4.75-second speed in the 40-yard dash, Neild has starred as a linebacker, tight end and halfback for Stroudsburg. Last season, he was sensational, finishing off the year with 15 catches for 275 yards and five touchdowns. On defense Neild notched 75 tackles, two sacks and an interception en route to all-area, all-conference and all-state honors.
So far this year, the senior prospect has hauled in three catches for 56 yards and a score while tallying 12 tackles and three tackles for loss in his team's 1-1 start.
"We've had a lot of D-1 players since I've been here," Stroudsburg head coach Fred Ross said. "We've probably had around 30 of them, and I've not seen anyone like Chris.
"Chris is unique in that he can carry his weight as well as almost anybody I've seen. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, he's a 280-pound kid that we're going to line up at split end this week. He's that athletic and a versatile player."
Check various recruiting lists from around the country and there is barely a mention of Neild anywhere. While this defender's talent has gone largely unnoticed by recruiting analysts, that's likely to change over the coming months as he has picked up an impressive collection of scholarship offers including pledges from NC State, UNC, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Rutgers, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia.
So far this month Neild has fielded phone calls from all of the schools that have offered plus Miami, Penn State and Connecticut.
All of the schools involved are recruiting Neild for defense except for UNC, which likes him as a H-back. Although still relatively early in the recruiting process, he has formulated a top six list with a leader that should make NC State fans quite happy.
"Right now my top schools are NC State, Syracuse, Georgia Tech, UNC, West Virginia and Virginia," said Neild. "I'd have to say NC State in No. 1 right now. They're recruiting me for defense which I like, and I just really like the coaches and the staff down there."
Neild was able to take an unofficial visit to NC State over the summer and the visit may have played a huge role in making the Wolfpack a serious team of contention for the two-way star's commitment later in the year.
"State has a good reputation for their defense, and I really like that," he said. "We got a chance to tour the campus and the facilities there are just amazing."
Neild says that he plans to take his official visits prior to making a decision and is just now getting around to setting those trips up. He listed playing time as a major consideration for the school he ultimately chooses but added that location would not be a major factor as his family is likely to follow him to whatever college he chooses. Neild hopes to major in Sports Management in college. He is being recruited by Wolfpack cornerbacks coach Greg Williams.