Plenty of talent at Seguin

When Donte Neal offered his verbal commitment to the University of Wisconsin yesterday, he became the first of what will likely be a half dozen Seguin High School football players who will eventually commit to Division I programs.

Ricky Albus, the head football coach at Seguin High School in Arlington, Texas, was not surprised when one of his star pupils, safety Donte Neal, chose to make a spring decision, verbally committing to the University of Wisconsin formally yesterday.

Albus cited Neal's comfort level with UW secondary coach Kerry Cooks, who is a native of nearby Irving, Texas, and with Badger head coach Bret Bielema, who had made his way to Seguin earlier this spring to watch one of the Cougars' spring practices.

"I think it just was a good fit for Donte," Albus said, in a telephone interview yesterday afternoon.

Bielema and Cooks are far from the only coaches who have Seguin in their sights this spring, and Neal certainly is not the Cougars' only college prospect in the class of 2007.

In fact, Neal is one of four Seguin seniors-to-be who has an early scholarship offer from a major college program. And two more of his classmates will likely receive offers as the recruiting year progresses, according to Albus.

Do not expect Neal to be the only Seguin prospect to make a spring or summer decision.

"Our big thing is to try to have decisions made at least before football season starts so that we have the ability where they can kind of put the whole recruiting process behind them and really focus and concentrate on a great season for us," Albus said.

"I'm not a big fan of the whole early recruiting process," Albus added. "I really wish they would give them an early signing day. And once they sign they're done."

Seguin returns eight players on defense — including four student-athletes who will be third-year starters this fall — from a team that went 9-3 last season.

The most sought after player at Seguin is cornerback Jamell Fleming (5-foot-11, 187 pounds), who has scholarship offers from Wisconsin, Florida, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, UCLA, Baylor and Central Florida.

"Jamell's that true 6-foot, big, physical corner," Albus said. "Right now his big four that he's narrowed down to are UCLA, OU, Florida and A&M."

Jonathan Clark, another piece of Seguin's talent-laden secondary, has scholarship offers from Wisconsin, Arizona State and "several" Division I-AA programs. Clark has started at safety, alongside Neal, the past two seasons. He also played cornerback last year when Fleming was injured. He will be Seguin's weakside safety this fall.

The fourth early-offer recipient is linebacker Kenny Sims (6-0, 211), who has tenders from six to eight schools, according to Albus, including Georgia Tech, Northwestern, Iowa and Wake Forest.

"They have not yet (made decisions), but they are very close," Albus said of the Fleming, Clark and Sims. "I think they are going to plan on going out and visiting this summer on some unofficials and I think Donte, as well, will be coming up to Wisconsin this summer to visit and just really solidify his commitment."

In a separate interview Thursday, Neal said that Wisconsin will be the only school that he visits, but that he was not sure whether he will be able to make it to Madison this summer.

Two other Seguin players could receive offers: wide receiver/cornerback Kendall Irving (5-11, 180) and linebacker Andre Small (5-10, 199).

"Right now, Kendall and Andre are both move-in kids for us," Albus said. "So we don't have game footage to really show people. So those two kids do not have an official offer on the table at this point because everything has just been spring football evaluation. But I think both of them are going to end up being solid players."

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