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Arizona now a player for Neal

1/18/2012

Just when it looked like Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral athlete Davonte Neal would be leaving the state to play his college football without giving the in-state schools much of a look, he canceled his final official visit to Miami and replaced it with Arizona.

Neal, ranked No. 29 in the ESPNU 150, already has visited Notre Dame and Ohio State and will head to Arkansas this weekend. A trip to North Carolina is set up for (Jan. 27), and Neal then will take a little break before going on his final official visit.

“We had a home visit with Arizona Wednesday afternoon and it went very well,” Neal’s father Luke said. “Rich Rod [Rodriguez], Robert Anae and Tony Dews all came together and were really blown away. Robert and I coached together at Rexburg (Idaho) Ricks junior college back in the early 90s and we’ve been close ever since.

“I always said if Robert was at Arizona, we would give them a look, because I know he would look after Davonte, but I honestly didn’t expect much to come from the home visit. Coach Rod was very impressive, and Davonte liked him a lot. He’s a good guy, a family guy and a good football coach. He’s intense and personable but also has a way of making you feel comfortable around him. We decided to bump out Miami, and Davonte will now take an official visit to Arizona (Feb. 10).”

Neal said he plans to take the week between his visits to UNC and Arizona to relax a bit and focus on what schools among his first four visits looks like the best fit.

“That was actually Davonte’s idea,” Luke Neal said. “He knows it’s late in the process, so we’ll take a week off and focus on just those four schools and try and find the best fit. Then he’ll leave for Arizona with an open mind and be able to give them a fair shot. We’ll take an unofficial visit to Arizona State, as well, and Coach [Todd] Graham and Coach [Delvaughn] Alexander will be over Monday for a home visit.

“Arkansas came Wednesday night and Ohio State and Notre Dame will be over on Thursday. Urban Meyer and Brian Kelly will both be coming over, so that will be pretty exciting having those two head coaches in our house. Davonte loved his official visits to both schools, so these home visits with the coaches should be great.”