While nothing’s officially official quite yet, it doesn’t appear Arizona will have a highly-rated transfer at its disposal in 2013.
At least for the moment, the only thing official is that Davonte’ Neal is a member of the Wildcats football program. Speaking at the Pac-12 media days late this past week, though, UA head coach Rich Rodriguez sounded decidedly pessimistic about the wide receiver’s immediate availability, telling the assembled media that “I don’t believe he’s going to be eligible.”
The eligibility question, though, has nothing to do with academics. Rather, it doesn’t appear the appeal made to the NCAA by the player and school will be successful.
Based on the fact that Neal, a 2012 Notre Dame signee, transferred back to his home state to be closer to his girlfriend and young daughter, an appeal was made for immediate eligibility. Such an appeal, which normally revolves around a health issue involving a relative, will likely not be enough for the ever-benevolent NCAA to qualify Neal for the hardship waiver he is seeking.
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.
Beginning in 2014, Neal will have three seasons to use his remaining three years of eligibility.