Arizona wide receiver Davonte Neal’s hardship waiver request to play immediately this year after transferring from Notre Dame has been denied by the NCAA, Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez said on Monday.
Neal, a highly-touted recruit from Scottsdale’s Chaparral High, signed with the Irish out of high school and was Notre Dame’s top punt returner as a true freshman last season. He also had one rush for seven yards and caught one pass for minus five yards.
The 5-foot-9, 171-pounder left South Bend to be closer to his girlfriend and baby daughter. Most players who transfer have to sit out a season before playing, but Neal hoped that the NCAA would waive this requirement due to his family situation.
The Wildcats do plan on making another appeal, but it’s not likely to be approved. As a result, Neal will likely sit out the year and have three seasons of eligibility remaining.
Arizona could’ve used Neal and his playmaking abilities in 2013. The Wildcats receivers have caught just 12 passes in their first two games as senior quarterback B.J. Denker has struggled in the early going.