14 in 14: WR Davonte' Neal

IrishEyes.com continues its "14 in 14" series, which profiles each of the freshman enrolling this month at Notre Dame. It is running for 14 successive days, and the final few players remain. Today's focus is on Arizona athlete Davonte' Neal.

Davonte' Neal is never shy about his lofty expectations, and prior to enrolling at Notre Dame to start the week and didn't back off from what awaits him in the fall.

The 5-foot-10, 178-pound Neal will begin his Notre Dame career at receiver, and also trying to work his way in to the return game.

"I'm ready," he said. "Mentally, physically, emotionally …I'm ready for a new chapter. I'm really excited to see 80,000-plus in a stadium. That's what I'm looking forward to."

Following is late February announcement that he would attend Notre Dame, Neal transferred from Chapparal High (Scottsdale, Ariz.) to Central High in Phoenix, but it didn't deter his focus or his desire to be prepared to play this fall.

Neal is heading to Notre Dame to play and make an impact.

"I love football, and I love to compete," Neal said. "I love to compete with older guys since I was nine-years-old. I was competing with older guys when I was nine, and they were 19, 20, 21, guys that were in college. I always liked going up against guys that old. When I was 11, I was going against college guys, and NFL guys.

"For me, I like that. When I was at the Army combine, I was the only freshman there. Those guys are all juniors, and I'll be playing against some of them. I love that. I live for that. I love to compete like that."

Neal had a stellar high school career, capped by a staggering senior season at Chaparral in which he rushed 100 times for 1,317 yards and 16 touchdowns, caught 62 passes for 1,113 yards and 14 scores, made 44 tackles and intercepted a pass, averaged 19 yards on 13 punt returns and 39.4 yards on 10 kickoff returns and scored five special teams touchdowns.

He said the advice the Irish staff gave him was to be ready.

"They're saying just c'mon in and have an opportunity to play," Neal said. "They're saying receiver, punt return, kick return …something in the return game. Whatever they need me to do, I'll do. They haven't really said offense or defense, or no to offense, or no to defense."

Neal also knows there will be doubters that he has the ability to be a force at the college level, but he is confident.

"It comes from doing all the work I do, and knowing no one does what I do," he said. "I have the desire to always be the best at what I'm doing, and never be caught second-guessing what I'm confident doing. I stay in shape. I do things that people think are impossible, and make them possible for me."

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