Neal returns from Madison

Arlington, Texas (Seguin HS) safety Donte Neal committed to Wisconsin this past summer without ever having traveled to Madison. That all changed this past weekend as he made his long awaited official visit to watch the Badgers destory Northwestern on Homecoming weekend. Josh Clark caught up with Neal to offer this exclusive report to subscribers...

Donte Neal knew he was in for a treat before his arrival to Madison on Friday afternoon.

When he arrived, that was quickly confirmed with the transportation provided in route to Madison.

"Coach (Mark) Taurisani picked me up in Coach (Bielema)'s vehicle," Neal informed

"It was a brand new 2007 (Lincoln) Navigator. I sat in the backseat watching their Capital One Bowl game against Georgia last year."

Upon his arrival in Madison, Neal stepped on the practice field to watch the Badgers final walkthrough in preparation for their game the next day.

It was then he was able to meet and greet some of the coaches and players; all of whom he says took him in as family.

"Immediately, everyone took you in as part of the family," added Neal, who was joined by his father on the visit later on that evening. "Players would just see a new face, and come up and introduce themselves. The visit was nice. Everything from the facilities to the stadium to the people; the people were great."

Neal also had the opportunity to meet with the Badgers strength and conditioning coach, who showed him video of the marked improvement Joe Thomas made from his freshman year in Madison to his current senior season.

The highlight of Neal's visit was the gameday experience in watching the Badgers defeat Northwestern easily, 41-9.

"It was better than I expected. There were 83,000 plus in the stadium, and all the students were amped up. It was a great environment. Their strong safety, #16, is a good player. He really comes up and hits you," Neal stated.

Neal then followed that experience up with dinner on Saturday evening with his future position coach, Kerry Cooks, his father, and his host.

"It was great to be able to sit down one-on-one with Coach Cooks and learn from him what he expects to get done," added Neal, who was hosted by Jay Valai. "Coach Cooks is a great guy. He told me he'll play the best man for the position regardless of any perception. I really liked that fact."

"During this whole recruiting process, my father and I have had a good understanding that it is my decision and my business to handle, but he wants to make sure I make a good decision. He really liked the atmosphere and coaches at Wisconsin, and felt good with my decision."

Neal also received positive feedback from his host, Valai, who only cautioned him on the climate change from Texas. That is something Neal says he is prepared to get accustomed to.

Neal spent Sunday morning having breakfast with Coach Cooks and Coach (Dave) Doeren, and followed that up with a meeting with Coach Bielema.

"Coach Doeren talked to me about my teammate (linebacker Kenny Sims) and said he hoped to get him up for a visit later in the year," said Neal.

"Coach Bielema just told me to make sure I continue to get good grades, and make good decisions so there won't be anything to stand in my way from making it to Wisconsin next year. I am committed 100%, and won't be taking any other official visits."

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