Tuesday, November 8, 2011
WR Neal on OU visit: 'Fans are incredible'
By Bob Przybylo
What can wide receiver Durron Neal (St. Louis/De Smet Jesuit) do for an encore? The last two weekends have been eventful for the Oklahoma commit.
Two weeks ago, Neal scored four touchdowns in the first half of his game and got to celebrate a World Series championship as a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Last week’s celebrations started Thursday with Neal’s birthday. Then he scored three touchdowns, including the game-winner in a first-round playoff game Friday.
Neal, 6-foot, 190 pounds and ranked No. 60 in the ESPNU 150, didn’t have much time to enjoy the victory because he had a 6 a.m. flight Saturday to make his official visit to OU. He went to bed at 2:30 a.m. Saturday and woke up at 4 to get ready for his flight.
“It’s been fun, but it’s been crazy lately,” Neal said.
Neal might have felt tired, but he didn’t show it as he was too excited to meet up with the other four committments on official visits and taking in his first Sooners game in person.
What stood out to Neal was the passion of the Oklahoma fans.
“The fans are incredible,” Neal said. “They can actually frustrate other teams. They bleed OU, and I’m ready to do the same thing.”
Neal also got to spend a lot of quality time with his host, sophomore wide receiver Kenny Stills, and the other members of the California trio, Brennan Clay and Tony Jefferson.
Stills has mentioned time and time again what an impact Ryan Broyles has had in his life. And even though Neal isn’t officially on campus yet, that kind of relationship is blossoming between Neal and Stills.
“He was so helpful,” Neal said. “We talked about a lot of personal things, and he gave me a lot of advice.
“He told me to never be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t know what you’re doing, then you’re hurting the team. You have to be ready.”
The Sooners incurred a big loss when Broyles suffered a season-ending ACL injury Saturday in the 41-25 victory. Neal said it took a while for the team, and more specifically, the wide receivers to feel upbeat.
However, there was never talk about the season being over. Now it’s all about trying to fill the void.
“Kenny said it’s time for him to step up,” Neal said. “Ryan taught him everything and now they want to dedicate the rest of the season to him.”
Neal’s not afraid of hard work. His coaches believe at times he almost puts forth too much effort when he plays.
But after watching the Sooners play, Neal knows it’s that type of dedication that will make him successful.
“It makes me even more hungry to be there,” Neal said. “What I learned from being on the field watching them was the fast tempo. You have to take advantage of the summer and winter workouts because this is when it pays off.
“I want to learn everything to be the best player possible. I want to leave a legacy.”