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Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Countdown to NSD: Lewis Neal

By Gary Laney

To gear up for 2013 national signing day, GeauxTigerNation's Gary Laney will break down every commitment in the Tigers' 2013 recruiting class.

Vitals: DE Lewis Neal, 6-1, 230, Wilson, N.C./James B. Hunt

Committed: July 4, 2012

ESPN Grade: 80, 4-star prospect

Picked LSU over: Was originally committed to Ohio State, but he backed off and wound up picking LSU over Clemson and South Carolina.

State of the position: With its top four defensive ends possibly leaving for the NFL, LSU will have an immediate need for help at the position. Neal, who proved a relentless, dominant force for his high school team, could be in position to compete for playing time.

Pros: An all-around force, Neal has good speed, good power and is best known for his relentless, consistent effort pursuing the ball. There isn't one aspect of his game that stands out over the rest. Neal is simply pretty good at everything.

Cons: Not particularly large for a defensive end and he doesn't have the top-end speed of a Barkevious Mingo. He's not slow, but Neal's reputation for his consistent motor will do more than any singularly dominant physical attribute.

Potential role/Similar to: It's hard to draw a comparison because not many shorter defensive ends who play with a high motor come to mind. But defensive line coach Brick Haley and Les Miles like players who bring it on every down, are coachable and accountable. Take a player like defensive tackle Josh Downs, who was smaller than Anthony Johnson, but played with a consistency of effort that made it almost impossible to get him out of the lineup. By all accounts, Neal is that kind of football player.