The Davonte' Neal Saga: Grumblings, High School Recruiting, Morals, and More

TEMPE, AZ - NOVEMBER 19: Defensive end Mohammed Usman #97 of the Arizona Wildcats celebrates with a flag after defeating the Arizona State Sun Devils in the college football game at Sun Devil Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Sun Devils 31-27. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)


I'm not a morning person, I'll be the first to admit it. But after being sick the past two weeks, I decided going to bed early would be the best medicine (It actually does work). By going to bed early, I was also early to rise (see where I'm going with this?) and was able to catch what I thought was Davonte' Neal's signing day event.

After reading tweet after tweet about him not coming and seeing enough of FSNAZ's interviews of random people (seriously, props on finding people who weren't camera shy) I had had enough and needed breakfast.

I had a life to live, I had class to attend, and where Neal ended up did not impact my life (other then how my liver would feel come Fall) one bit.

Or that is what I tried to tell myself.

As the news started to trickle in about Neal heading back to the elementary school, I was instantly absorbed. And by absorbed I mean I have no idea what happened in my Political Science class and subsequently what goes on in the European Union (I did learn there are 27 members).

But this is exactly what is wrong with recruiting. It distracts us normal, non-D1-athletic-selves from our daily duties, to focus on an 18-year-old deciding where he will spend his next four years of college.

Below is my "grumblings" about the entire predicament which consumed Wildcat and Fighting Irish fans for four to five hours too long.

Now I've had time to think this process over and it kind of sickens me. Maybe not the concept of recruiting so much, but what transpired in this specific one.

Let's do a quick recap, shall we?

Monday: (maybe even Sunday, not exactly sure, but it was before Tuesday)-Neal decides on school, puts it into FedEx envelope and gives it to school for them to hold onto

Tuesday: Neal schedules a 930 announcement, yet does not show up; reports are Davonte wants UA and his dad wants ND; family says there was an emergency; shows back up to school and selects ND

I was a Neal fan going into Tuesday, February 21, but as a new day is upon us, that feeling has been replaced with one of "ehhh." I bet he's a great guy, his teammates seem to like him (would you not like a player who brought you two state championships?) but this whole debacle made me do a 180.

When picking my college, the only influence my parents had were driving me to Tucson and San Diego (UA and SDSU were the only schools on my radar) and giving me an amount of money they could contribute every year. That's all. I mean, yes they helped me investigate which school's programs had the best rankings, but it came down to where I felt the most comfortable.

However, in the "Decision 2.0" Neal's father, Luke Neal, was a big influence. Was it a bad one, time will only tell, but what we do know is from the reports, he wanted his son on NBC each Saturday instead of ____ (insert channel UA could be found on). I do not doubt he wanted the best for his son, but that is not the role of the parent.

The role of the parent is to be supportive of what your child wants to do (in the realm of legality, that is),even if you do not fully accept it. This mom was not thrilled with her sons choice, yet did not interfere.

Because of Neal's father, I was actually relieved he chose ND. You may call me crazy for turning down a top-10 player by ESPN, but the baggage his dad carries, or potentially carries, is too much for me. Granted, there is no NCAA offense for persuading your kid, but the whole situation seems a little sketchy to me.

From here on out, the only thing I'm waiting for is Davonte Neal to announce by spring of 2013 that he is transferring to the University of Arizona. Am I kinda, sorta confident this could happen? Yes. So confident I would bet money on it? Definitely not.

With that, I wish Neal and his family the best of luck in South Bend. My uncle and grandma will be watching you every week, so please, do not fumble the ball, both can not afford any more health conditions.

Do you feel Luke Neal played too big a role in his son's recruitment?

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