Alabama Athlete has Offer

The South Carolina Gamecocks don't exactly have a pipeline built running to the state of Alabama, but they have been able to snag underrated defenders like Captain Munnerlyn, Darian Stewart and the Lindsey twins, who all went on to become key contributors. New defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward has offered another potentially underrated Yellowhammer State prospect. Read inside for all the details.

"It was just a regular day at school, and we were having an assembly," 6-2, 180 pound Theodore athlete Todd Neal said. "My coach came and pulled me out of the assembly. One of the [South Carolina] coaches - it was the defensive coordinator - he was like, 'well, I don't know too much about you, but I heard you were a good player and I'm going to go down here and watch film and before I leave If I like what I see I'll give you a scholarship.'"

It was not too long after that, that Neal received his first scholarship offer.

"I guess he liked what he saw," Neal said.

Neal says the offer was made official when he received a letter in the mail with his written scholarship offer shortly after.

"It made me feel like all the hard work was actually starting to pay off," he said.

Neal doesn't know much about the South Carolina program, but has been impressed with his recruiter of record, Ward.

"He seems like a pretty good coach," he said. "All of the stuff that he told me about South Carolina defensive-wise, he seems like he's brought them a long ways."

Neal, who has played fullback, linebacker, wide receiver, safety, cornerback, kicker and return man, is planning to potentially see South Carolina for the first time this summer. He is hoping for the chance to play defensive back at the next level. The under-the-radar athlete is also receiving interest from Louisville, Stanford, Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Southern Miss among others.

While Neal has visited perennial SEC powers like Alabama and LSU multiple times, the school he grew up pulling for might come as a surprise.

"I just grew up liking Southern Miss," he said. "The academic program, they help out their student athletes. But of course every college does, but they give you that personal one-on-one time. On the field, they basically get in-depth coaching you because they don't have as many [stars] as the other big colleges, so you can learn more form the coaches instead of having to sit back and not get to practice that much."

Neal grew up watching the Golden Eagles on television and has a relative who played there before going on to the NFL. That connection has Southern Miss out front.

"My No. 1 choice would have to be Southern Miss. And after Southern Miss it would probably be South Carolina."

Neal said that while it won't be the biggest factor, location could be an issue when it comes to his decision.

"I mean it's wherever. I mean I do have a thing with the distance, but a scholarship is a scholarship. And you may not like leaving home, but you've just got to make some sacrifices.

But don't expect Neal to make the decision to leave home anytime soon. He says he plans to wait it out and see what other offers come in. The versatile athlete knows what he is looking for in the program he ultimately picks.

"One, of course I want to get my degree first, and if football takes me further it takes me further. I like playing football, but everybody can't make a career out of football. So, the No. 1 thing is getting an education."

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