March 18, 2012

Neal on Ohio State's radar

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Follow Noon | Rowland | Givler | Birmingham

Ohio State's 2013 recruiting class will likely be less than 20 players deep, and because of that, there are some who think that 2012's defensive end haul (Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington and Se'Von Pittman, all top-10 players nationally at the position) would mean that the Buckeyes would not look to fill that spot this time around.

While defensive end might not be a position of pressing need, that doesn't mean Ohio State's coaching staff doesn't have a few targets at the spot. One of those targets is Wilson (N.C.) Hunt product Lewis Neal, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound prospect who holds offers from Ohio State, Tennessee, South Carolina and Clemson; among the ten he is currently reporting.

According to Lewis, the Buckeyes are recruiting him as a hybrid-type defensive end, and he sees himself as a player who is versatile enough to handle that sort of duel-role. When asked if he sees himself as more of a "hand down" type of player, Neal was quick to clarify that he's equally adept at linebacker.

"I am good at both," Neal said "I want to be the Michael Jordan of football, the best player ever on the field."

His ambitious nature isn't limited to his on the field production, either. Neal strives to be better off the field than he is on it.

"I want to be the best person I can be off the field" Neal continued, "and I am not going to give up on that."

Neal's strengths on the football field might be his versatility; he is comfortable at his projected college position, defensive end, but feels equally as at home at tight end, or linebacker. As college offenses continue to evolve to a more spread-based game, players like Neal will grow more and more important.

Neal wants to visit Ohio State soon, but is not sure if he will be able to make the trip for the April 21st spring game, because it falls on the same day as his prom. He has been in regular contact with Buckeye co-defensive coordinators Luke Fickell and Everett Withers; and says he has had a relationship with Withers prior to his (Withers) leaving for Ohio State.

"He talks to me about leaving home, and he was kind of recruiting me while he was at UNC," Neal explained. "Staying close to home doesn't mean that much to me."

Is that a good sign for Ohio State? It might be, but Neal says he doesn't currently have a list of favorites, and is going to take his time before deciding on his future.

"I will probably take all my official visits, first" Lewis said about his timetable, "but if things go right, I could maybe decide before my senior season."


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