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Monday, November 12, 2012
ESPN 150 TE McNeil checks out Alabama

By Dave Hooker

Josh McNeil committed to Alabama in July. Despite a loss to Texas A&M, that decision was reaffirmed during his official visit to Tuscaloosa this weekend.

"The visit was good," the ESPN 150 tight end from Durham (N.C.) Milford said on Monday. "It was what I expected and much more. The atmosphere that Alabama has is crazy.

"It helped me make my decision even more."

Alabama, which was ranked No. 1 in the BCS heading into the weekend, was upset on Saturday by Texas A&M 29-24. Still, the game had appeal for McNeil, who was able to see Alabama's offense up close.

Sure, it's still an offense based on the running game, but this season has been a bit different. With A.J. McCarron at quarterback, Alabama has shown a strong ability to throw the ball more often. McNeil should be a part of that in the future, as will fellow Bama tight end commitment O.J. Howard (Prattville, Ala./Autauga Academy).

"That lit my eyes up even more," McNeil said of the passing attack. "Knowing me and O.J. are going in there, they've really never had two athletic tight ends. It's going to open up the passing game even more. Once we start throwing the ball really well, I think the running game is going to explode."

In addition to the game, McNeil said he inspected the academic support. That was more than satisfactory.

"I checked everything out in academics," said McNeil, who is the fourth-highest ranked prospect in North Carolina. "It is good. The football players graduate on time. Football isn't the only thing they press kids into doing. They also press them to make good grades."

McNeil also has a strong connection to Alabama because of defensive line coach Chris Rumph, who is McNeil's primary recruiter. When asked about Rumph, McNeil said, "He's one of the mentors in my life. We talk about a lot of stuff, not just football. He tries to help me out with life."

Life is good for McNeil. He'll graduate from high school this week, attend the Under Armour All-America Game in January then enroll at Alabama later that month.

Before then, McNeil said he'd like to attend the Alabama-Auburn game on Nov. 24. McNeil said last week that he was 100-percent committed to Alabama but was also considering visits to other schools. With a busy schedule, he might not be able to do that.

"As of right now, I don't think I'm going to have time to do that," the 6-foot-5, 226-pound prospect said of other visits.