<
>
Insider

DE Lewis Neal already making LSU plans

Fresh off of his visit to LSU, Lewis Neal is about as committed as a prospect can get.

When recruiters from other schools, most recently Georgia Tech, ask him to visit their campus, he politely declines.

"I don't need to do that," the four-star linebacker from Wilson (N.C.) Hunt said Monday when asked about visiting other schools. "Most schools know I'm 100 percent [so they don't' call]."

Neal said he already has his classes chosen that he'll take when he enrolls in June. He has an LSU-endorsed workout that he'll begin soon after his senior season is complete. He's even considered life after football at LSU.

Planning on being a personal trainer, he hopes to work for respected strength and conditioning coach Tom Moffitt after his playing days are through. Neal so accepted the bayou lifestyle that he even tried some local cuisine, such as alligator.

"I'll get used to it," he said. "I have to take little small steps."

The shrimp wasn't too bad, either. But what really impressed Neal was the game-day atmosphere when LSU hosted Alabama and the relationships he's built with Tigers coaches and players.

"It was what I expected," Neal said of the scene in Tiger Stadium. "Crazy. I loved everything about the place -- the atmosphere, everything."

Neal said he spent much of his time with two defensive ends that he hopes to eventually replace: junior Sam Montgomery and sophomore Jermauria Rasco. Rasco, in particular, had a special message. He said Neal should get early playing time in Baton Rouge.

"They're going to need some help," Neal said, relaying the message he received from Rasco. "The way the coaches have talked to him. [He said], 'It's like they need help right away.' '"

When asked what other players he spent time with, Neal said, "I was with the whole team while they worked out. I went to their room and hung out."

Then there's Neal's bond with his coaches. Three have been most involved in his recruitment: defensive line coach Brick Haley, defensive coordinator John Chavis and head coach Les Miles. Those, however, weren't the only coaches he bonded with on the trip.

"There were with us every day," Neal said of the entire coaching staff. "It was great to be around them. It's a caring group of guys that likes to win and will do what needs to be done to win. It's a family atmosphere. I liked it. All the other coaches talked to me to say that they're expecting big things out of me. They're expecting me to help the team big time."

Ask Neal about LSU's heartbreaking 21-17 loss to Alabama on Saturday and he sounds like a current player.

"Everybody expected Alabama to do some damage but we fought," Neal said. "We had a game. We just didn't finish… We don't like playing for bowl games. We like playing for national championships. We just have to finish the season strong."

This season, Neal has 98 tackles, 14 sacks, 12 more for a loss, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick. He has helped lead his team to an 11-0 record this season and a second-round playoff game this Friday.