- Gary Laney, Reporter, GeauxTigerNation
Lewis Neal picked a unique setting to announce his college choice.
The Wilson, N.C./Hunt High school defensive end picked a Coastal Plains League baseball game to declare that he will attend LSU. Neal made his announcement over the ballpark's public address system between the fourth and fifth innings of a game between his hometown Wilson Tobs and the Edenton Steamers, a most unusual spot for a college choice announcement.
Neal, a 4-star prospect ranked No. 38 among the nation's defensive ends by ESPN, picked LSU over SEC rivals Tennessee, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Kentucky and also had offers from Ohio State, Clemson, North Carolina State and East Carolina.
The 6-foot-1, 230-pounder committed to Ohio State after attending the Buckeyes' spring game in April, but decommitted just a week later.
Neal's commitment gives LSU a whopping 19 players committed for its 2013 signing class and its eighth out-of-state pledge. He's the third player to commit in six days, joining linebacker Melvin Jones (Lake Charles, La./Washington-Marion) and tight end DeSean Smith (Lake Charles, La./Barbe).
He's also the third defensive end in the LSU class, joining Frank Herron (Memphis/Memphis Central) and Michael Patterson (Winnfield, La./Winnfield). He's the 12th four-star player in the LSU class among 17 committed high school players. Two junior college transfers are not rated.
Neal is a quick and hard-working rush end who some had projected to play linebacker. In LSU's 4-3 scheme, he's more likely to wind up bulking up and playing a rush end. LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis has had success with smaller ends. Both of the Tigers' projected starters in 2012, Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery, are less than 250 pounds.
Mingo and Montgomery are both juniors, but both project to go among the top five picks in next year's NFL draft and will likely leave school a year early. Their backups, Lavar Edwards and Chauncey Aghayere, are both seniors. Given that, LSU is likely to look for a commitment from at least one more defensive end to replenish the position.
2dJeremy Crabtree and Brandon Chatmon