4-star Neal Discusses In-Home with Irish

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly and two assistants made their way to Arizona for an in-home with Chaparral High (Scottsdale) four-star athlete Davonte' Neal, and after the meeting he spoke with IrishEyes.com about it.

The consistency in which Notre Dame is recruiting Davonte' Neal of Chaparral High (Scottsdale, Ariz.) is impressing the four-star athlete and his family, and the latest instance came during a Thursday's in-home visit.

Irish coach Brian Kelly and assistant Tony Alford and Kerry Cooks were in the desert to meet with Neal and his family, and things went well.

"It went really well," the 5-foot-9, 180-pound Neal said. "We were talking about the academics and the degree of a school, and the value of it. We met for maybe 45 minutes, an hour, and we talked about pretty much everything we talked about when I was up at Notre Dame (on an official visit). They didn't really talk about football.

"We picked up on the conversation we had when we were out there at Notre Dame. I like that a lot because I know I can play football, and they know I can play, but they don't really look at me as a football player first. They look at me as a student."

Neal wants to pursue a career in sports broadcasting, and the Irish's stellar graduation rate is a selling point.

"They told me tonight it's now a 100 percent graduation rate," Neal said. "When I talked to them the first time it was 97, 98 (percent), but it went up. That's what we talked about."

Another key aspect of the visit was the chance for Neal to build further his relationship with Kelly.

"My dad always used to tell me when he played in college, he told me …everybody saw (the coach) as a mean person because he didn't smile a lot," Neal said. "My dad would always say people never knew him because they never spent time with him. I think that's what coach Kelly is like.

"He's one of those coaches you see on television, but you don't really understand him until you talk to him and find out he's a down-to-earth coach."

During the in-home, Kelly told a story about the team aspect, and how he views Neal.

"He was like, ‘Coach Cooks and coach Alford, they're shopping for groceries, and I'm going to cook the meal and I'm going to feed you the meal,' " Neal said. "It was kind of funny because he was saying I'm going to give you the ball. I thought that was funny. We were all cracking up."

The position Neal will play in college is something he doesn't speak about much. He was a multi-threat player in leading Chaparral to a 14-1 mark and a state title.

Neal ran 100 times for 1,317 yards and 16 scores, caught 62 passes for 1,113 yards and 14 scores, made 31 tackles and had 12 pass break-ups and scored five special teams touchdowns via punt and kick returns.

"I'll play wherever I can fit in. I don't have a preference," Neal said. "If they want me to play just kickoff returns, then I'll learn it and be the best kickoff returner out there. That's what I'm going to work on. If you want me to play punt return, I'll play punt return. If you want me to play defense, I'll play defense."

Neal, who also visited Ohio State, will leave for Arkansas on Friday and travel to North Carolina next weekend. He will finish up his official visits Feb. 10 at Arizona before making a post-signing day decision.

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