Rutgers, Pitt Offer Pennsy Linebacker

McKeesport (Pa.) High has loads of talent, and in the last 24 hours Rutgers and Pittsburgh extended offers to middle linebacker T.J. Neal, who now holds four offers. Neal spoke about the offers, where his recruitment stands, and whether a school is standing out for him.

Rutgers went to McKeesport (Pa.) High last season to recruit a pair of high-profile players, and while there got a look at a pair of class of 2012 prospects now high on its radar.

One is offensive lineman Christian Wilson, whose tape is just making the rounds. The other is middle linebacker T.J. Neal, who was offered by Rutgers, according to McKeesport coach Jim Ward.

"They offered about 30 minutes ago," Ward said this earlier this morning. "I think things are going to really start picking up for him."

The offer from the Scarlet Knights came less than 24 hours after the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Neal received an offer from Pittsburgh. He also holds offers from North Carolina State and Texas Tech.

"I talk to (Rutgers) every now and then," Neal said. "I know a little bit about them. (Assistant coach) Robb Smith used to come down to McKeesport."

The Scarlet Knights recruited class of 2011 McKeesport standouts Branden Jackson and Delvon Simmons, and Neal spoke with both of those players about the program.

"I don't know too much, but I know about the F.A.M.I.L.Y. – Forget About Me, I Love You," Neal said. "I'm supposed to visit there this spring. I'm planning on doing it. Right now I'm planning on doing it."

Neal was grateful for the offer from Pittsburgh, but said just because he is 15 minutes from the campus doesn't mean the Panthers are the favorite.

"I'm just weighing my options and sitting back and seeing what is going on," Neal said. "I think it's equal as far as everyone."

The only campus Neal visited was West Virginia, when he attended junior day with Wilson earlier this month. But his recruitment was slowed because he missed his sophomore season with a broken leg.

"He's a very good player," Ward said. "He's a guy that a lot of schools are going to look at."

Neal also plays fullback and running back for McKeesport, but he is being recruited to play linebacker. And while he has the versatility to play outside linebacker, Neal prefers to be in the middle.

"I like that you're directing and calling everything, like you're the man," Neal said. "I think I'm versatile and can also play outside, but I like playing in the middle."

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