Former Notre Dame all-purpose threat Davonte’ Neal told 247Sports.com Tuesday night that he is headed for Arizona, a significant addition to Rich Rodriguez’s program.
The 247Sports.com story, written by Jason Sapp of Notre Dame’s BlueandGold as part of the 247Sports.com network, mentions that Neal plans to submit a waiver request to the NCAA to be eligible next season.
Sapp reports that Neal, a former standout at Scottsdale Chaparral, will arrive at the UA campus May 1.
The 5-foot-9, 178-pound Neal returned 21 punts for 46 yards as a freshman last season, averaging 2.2 yards per return. He also had one carry for 7 yards and one catch for minus-5 yards.
Neal will request the transfer waiver from the NCAA because of the need to be closer to his infant daughter Baylee, who resides in Scottsdale with Neal’s girlfriend, Marie Burton.
According to the NCAA’s Web site (NCAA.org), the transfer rule requires an undergraduate to miss one year of competition in order to help student-athletes adjust to their new school and ensure that the move was motivated by academics as well as athletics. A waiver process is available to all student-athletes, and each waiver request is reviewed individually.
From April 2011 to April 2012, the NCAA approved 91 transfer waivers and denied 71, according to NCAA.org.
Neal has a reasonable chance for the waiver because of his necessity to move closer to help care for his daughter.
“The primary reason I chose Arizona was because it was close to my family and my daughter can come see me everyday – that was the most important to me and having that family support,” Neal told Sapp. “The way Coach Rodriguez throws the ball around is amazing. They do it the entire game. I’ll have an opportunity to play inside and outside receiver in the offense. He does know how to get the ball in his players’ hands and from there they make plays.”
When Neal chose Notre Dame over Arizona last year, Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly said Neal was an “electric playmaker”.
“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 of Neal’s Chaparral career.
If Neal is granted his waiver by the NCAA and plays in 2013, he would join running back Ka’Deem Carey and wide receiver Austin Hill in what should be a potent offense. The quarterback position is undetermined but Rodriguez has capable possibilities, including freshman Anu Solomon, USC transfer Jesse Scroggins and senior B.J. Denker.
Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner