When it was announced late last month that Davonte’ Neal would be transferring from Notre Dame, the wide receiver’s father was quoted as saying that a move to a California school “would most likely be a better fit for” his son.
As it turns out, a return to his home state is an even better fit in the here and now.
Speaking to Blue & Gold Illustrated Tuesday, the Scottsdale, Ariz., product confirmed to the 247Sports.com website that he has decided to transfer to Arizona and play for Rich Rodriguez‘s Arizona Wildcats. Along with the Notre Dame, Arizona was one of Neal’s four finalists on National Signing Day last year. Arkansas and North Carolina were the other two.
One of the overriding factors behind deciding to play for UA this time around is the same one that prompted him to leave South Bend in the first place — to be closer to his long-time girlfriend and two-month-old 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 said. “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.”
Prior to his meeting with Rodriguez and his staff, Pac-12 rival UCLA had been the front-runner for the rising sophomore’s services.
Due to the circumstances surrounding a new addition to his life, Neal will apply for a waiver from the NCAA that would allow him to play for the Wildcats immediately in 2013. A decision on that waiver should come at some point this summer.
Neal was a four-star member of the Irish’s 2012 class, rated as the No. 17 receiver in the country. He played sparingly on offense as a true freshman, catching one pass for minus-five yards. Neal’s biggest role came on special teams as he returned 21 punts for 46 yards.