is expected to contribute right away in the return game.
"He's exceptional in the open field," said CBS Sports Network
recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, who rates Neal as a four-plus star
player. "This is perfect for Brian Kelly's offense."
And it added a jolt to Notre Dame's recruiting class. The previous 16
players, who were announced on the Feb. 1 national signing day, ranked
as a group 17th in the 247Sports.com team rankings. Neal's addition
bounced that group up to No. 12.
"Davonte' was an electric playmaker in high school and was capable of
making the big play any time he had the ball in his hands," Kelly said
in a statement. "He excelled as a receiver, as a running back and as a
returner for coach Ragle at Chaparral High School. I imagine we'll use
him in a similar fashion here."
The Gatorade Player of the Year in Arizona, Neal caught 62 passes for
1,113 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. He also ran for 1,317 yards
and 16 TDs. As a defensive back he made 31 tackles and had 12 pass
His decision somewhat offsets two defections from the class that
signed earlier this month. ND lost longtime cornerback commit Ronald
Darby to Florida State, and wide receiver Deontay Greenberry switched
from the Irish to Houston on signing day.
This one went Kelly's way.
"Deciding on a college is one of the toughest decisions a young player
makes in his life," Kelly said, "so we are very pleased with Davonte's
decision to attend Notre Dame."
Staff writer Bob Wieneke: