The recruitment of James Hunt High School (Wilson, Nc.) standout Lewis Neal certainly had its twists and turns. After originally committing to Ohio State for a short period of time before his senior season, the three-star Neal ultimately settled on LSU a few months later.
Since signing with the Tigers, Neal has added a few pounds to his frame and now stands at 6-2 and 245 pounds. Neal will report to LSU on June 7th to begin his college career in Baton Rouge. The idea of reporting to LSU has definitely kicked things into high gear for Neal as he has already starting studying his playbook and learning the role that he will take on for the Tigers.
"I already have my playbook and I am going to be a pass rusher," Neal told TSD. "I'm going to be like [Barkevious] Mingo, but I am also strong enough to be an end like Sam Montgomery. I'm ready to contribute to the team in any way that I can. I'll get on the field any way that I can because at the end of the day, it's all football."
"The LSU coaches know what's best for me and they will put me in a great position to succeed."
Neal mentioned his similarities to former Tigers Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery as enormous benefits of his game that he hopes will help him see the field early at LSU. With those two gone, Neal also feels that he is in line to take advantage of the depth issues at defensive end for LSU. However, Neal is prepared to contribute in any way possible on and off the field.
"As of right now, we need some ends so I am looking to make a big impact on the field," said Neal. "I'm going to give 100% on the practice field, game field and in the classroom so that I can make it happen. I want to help my teammates out any way that I can because I'm blessed to be where I'm at and have this opportunity."
With that June 7th date quickly approaching for Neal, the projected defensive end is trying to maintain a level head as he prepares for a big change in his life. The anticipation of starting his college career has Neal extremely excited about the future.
"I'm very excited, but I'm not going to get out of control," said Neal. "It is a dream come true and it is time to fulfill it. I just can't wait for that part and to get my life and my career started. Everything will be different once I get there, but it is something that I can't wait for."
While Neal is from North Carolina, he already has one close friend in LSU signee Greg Gilmore that will be joining him in Baton Rouge. Neal explained that he has built quite a relationship with both Gilmore and signee Michael Patterson, both of which he will be rooming with at LSU.
"I talk with them all the time and I talk to the guys that are already there," said Neal. "I just try to stay up to date with everyone because we have to be a family and stick together. We are all very close."
Even though LSU has to replace numerous starters at key positions on defense, Neal has hopes for the Tigers in 2013. He isn't even a freshman in college, but Neal explained that there is more to success at LSU than just victory on the field.
"My expectations are very high," said Neal. "We will keep a winning mentality and confidence. We will play with the usual LSU swag and leave it all on the field for our teammates and our fans. We are going out there to win and to accomplish goals like the National Championship."
"We have to win in all aspects of school to get there, not just on the field."
Signee Update: Lewis Neal
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