Joe Arrigo

Nate Neal Talks Commitment to UNLV & More

UNLV Commit Nate Neal talks to Inside The Rebels about committing to the Rebels, being a Rhare Breed on the field and why he is proud of playing with "That DOG" mentality

Nate Neal is a Rhare Breed. He is a hybrid Defensive End/Linebacker who specializes in rushing the passer. He is uber athletic and has "that dog in him"...which is a very good thing. A product of Etiwanda High School in Etiwanda, CA, Nate got a late start in playing football and with the help of a training company and hard work, Neal became one of the most sought after hybrid players in this years recruiting class.

Nate plays with speed, athleticism and a "go hard to the whistle" attitude. He is a freak athlete and prides himself in outworking everyone. Neal hates losing and takes in personally, something he intends on bringing to the Rebels next year. 

Here is my interview with Nate Neal...

1. What were you thinking during your official visit to UNLV?
The visit felt like a dream. The coaches and hosts were all welcoming and treated us like kings. But the big thing was how comfortable I felt, because the staff reminded me a lot of my football family back home. We have the same vision of putting our schools on the map and turning the program around. That really sold it because I had to put my trust in my high school coach and we made history following his lead, so trusting Coach Sanchez was the easy part. The hard part is going to be finding a clean roommate!
2. Being that you are built and play like the prototypical modern day hybrid NFL DE/OLB, how do you envision yourself fitting in to Rebel's defense?
My future position coach told me I will likely play the Rebel position which is just that, a hybrid DE/OLB. I will get to use all my athletic ability whether it's pass rushing or dropping into coverage. It's the best of both worlds.
3. What were the reasons you were considering UNLV and do you think you can come in and play right away?
My education comes first and foremost. UNLV offers a great criminal justice degree I can pursue while there. I know being in law enforcement is a highly-respected and well-paying job. That attracted me almost immediately when I researched the school. My biggest reason football-wise was my connection with Coach TSam. He personally came to recruit me early on in my season. We built a "father-son" type of relationship  and we share a lot in common. He sees myself in him and likewise. TSam has produced some of the best pass rushers to play the game and I know he has the formula to get me there. I'm not too concerned with depth charts because I'm ready to work. I know I can contribute to the team as long as I show up and show out. The rest will handle itself. Coach TSam said it best when he told me, "Never plan on redshirting because that sets a limitation". I plan on being the best and I'm going to grind like it.
4. What are your strengths on the field as a DE and what are your areas that you need to improve on? 
I am a natural passrusher. I've been playing the position for a little over 2 years now and there's a lot I don't know, but my reaction to a pass-set just comes second nature. My footwork and change of direction are what most coaches notice first when they see me play. My speed and explosion off the ball comes hand-in-hand as well. I am working to sharpen those tools. My main focus is making sure I stay in the weight room. It was easy overpowering the guys in high school, but everyone lives in the weight room in college and I'll need to put on healthy weight to compete. Finding a balance to keep my speed and feet while building more muscle is the task at hand.
5. You were with some of the other UNLV top recruits at your respective positions over the weekend, how did you and the other recruits that were at the game get a long? Have you played against any of them or knew them prior to the visit?
Almost every guy I took my OV with stayed in contact. We have group messages that we talk in on the regular. I never played with or against them, but Noah Bean and Jamaal Neal have mutual friends of mine. We all show love to each other on Twitter and all that so gaining chemistry will be easy when we arrive in July.
6. What was your overall impression of your UNLV trip, the program in general and has the new Fertitta Football Complex and stadium that will be built soon played a role in your impression of UNLV? Also, what do you think of Coach Sanchez and they way his staff is recruiting you? Have they impressed you? 
  
My decision was pretty easy once I went up to Vegas. The school is great and I'm hyped for the new additions to the facilities. Not only will they do us well, but they will attract more talent in the coming years so we can have more classes like this one. Coach Sanchez is a guy I watched since sophomore year when he was at Gorman. He's a winner and I love to win. Getting that opportunity was a no-brainer. The staff he put together did a great job recruiting me, standing out amongst all the other schools so much so, I actually committed before I even left Vegas. The decision was easy when I realized you wanna go somewhere where they WANT YOU and not just your vitals or to fill an empty spot. The love they show is genuine. The staff is pretty loaded with experience too, so don't be surprised when it's not just my position dominating the field. 
7. What were you looking for in a school? If you had to list the things that matter most to you, what are they?
I made a list in my head of what I wanted in a college and that was: Academics that will help me earn a job after football, a family-atmosphere in the locker room with everyone on board to be great, and a coach that will guide me to becoming the best player I can be, which I got in the veteran, Coach TSam. UNLV was a perfect fit I gotta thank God for presenting me with.
8. I was told by your personal trainers, Rhare Breed Training, that you have "That dog in you" which, coming from them, is the highest compliment. What brought that out in you?
I had to be a dog. I never smelled a football field until my freshman year. Being so far behind kids who played their whole lives, I had to catch up. Training with Rob at Rhare Breed became my life. They make every workout competitive, and it grows on you. If you hate to lose you, you won't. Getting that mindset is what will separate you from everyone else. I have Rob to thank for bringing that out in me, and my hunger for success to help maintain it.
9. Do you have specific goals for the upcoming season?
Win, win, win. I want us to be successful and I know we can with the talent we have. If we refuse to lose, all the accolades will come with it. Other than that, I'm focused on becoming the best Rebel I can be.
10. Lastly, what is your message for the UNLV fan base prior to coming to Vegas?
Rebel Nation, we comin baby. There's a freight train on its way and I hope y'all are ready to ride. #702Takeover
You can follow Nate on Twitter @_NateNeal

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