Feb. 21, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Twenty days after the University of Notre Dame announced the additions of 17 student-athletes to its 2012 football roster (one college transfer and 16 high school seniors), the Irish added one more player to the team, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly announced Tuesday.
Davonte Neal, a wide receiver and defensive back from Scottsdale, Ariz., sent his signed letter of intent to Notre Dame Tuesday. The 5-10, 175-pounder was the Gatorade Arizona Player of the Year as a junior and senior at Chaparral High School and helped lead the Firebirds to state championships both seasons.
“Deciding on a college is one of the toughest decisions a young player makes in his life, so we are very pleased with Davonte’s decision to attend Notre Dame,” Kelly said. “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. He excelled as a receiver, as a running back and as a returner for Coach (Charlie) Ragle at Chaparral High School. I imagine we’ll use him in a similar fashion here.”
Neal was named to the Parade All-America team following his senior season in which he totaled 35 touchdowns. Neal caught 62 passes for 1,113 yards and 16 TDs, rushed for 1,317 yards and 14 TDs, returned three kickoffs for TDs and posted two punt return TDs in 2011. He was ranked the top “athlete” in the nation and eighth-best prospect in the country by ESPN.
“Davonte is a great complement for our 2012 recruiting class,” Kelly said. “As I said almost three weeks ago, we wanted to add more skill players to our team and we did a nice job of doing that. I look forward to coaching Davonte and the rest of his class this fall.”
Here’s a more detailed bio on Davonte Neal:
Davonte Neal, WR, 5-10, 175, Scottsdale, AZ (Chaparral) – Named Gatorade Arizona Player of the Year as a junior and senior . . . selected to Parade All-America team following senior season . . . named to the ESPNHS All-America first team as a kick returner in 2011 . . . rated the eighth-best player in the nation on the 2012 ESPNU 150 list . . . ranked by ESPN the best “athlete” in the nation, the top player in the West and the number-one player in Arizona . . . named a SuperPrep All-American in 2011 . . . rated the third-best player in the Far West and number-six “athlete” nationally by SuperPrep . . . listed the number-53 player in the country by 247Sports . . . ranked the best player in Arizona and sixth-best “athlete” nationally by 247Sports . . . rated the 67th-best player in the country and the number-eight wide receiver nationally by MaxPreps and Tom Lemming . . . considered the fifth-best cornerback in the nation by Scout.com and the 74th-best prospect in the country . . . rated by Rivals.com the third-best player in Arizona, 17th-best wide receiver in the nation and number-107 player nationally . . . played in the Under Armour All-America Game in St. Petersburg, Fla. . . . scored 35 touchdowns as a senior at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., with 16 receiving TDs, 14 rushing TDs and five TDs on kickoff or punt returns . . . gained 1,317 rushing yards and caught 62 passes for 1,113 yards as a senior . . . averaged 39 yards on kickoff returns with three TDs and averaged 26.6 yards per punt return with two TDs . . . also made 31 tackles and 12 pass breakups as a cornerback in 2011 . . . selected to All-Arizona team as the all-purpose player by Arizona Republic in 2011 and 2010 . . . named to Tacoma News Tribune Western 100 list as one of the 100 best players in 13 western states . . . tallied 64 touchdowns at Chaparral High School as a junior and senior, the third-most TDs recorded by a player in school history . . . recorded 2,020 receiving yards and 27 receiving TDs as a junior and senior . . . his 35 total TDs as a senior were the second most in a single season and the 29 TDs scored as a junior ranked sixth in Chaparral history . . . helped lead the Chaparral Firebirds to a 14-1 record in 2011 and third consecutive state championship . . . caught 37 passes for 907 yards and 11 TDs as a junior . . . added five interceptions for the Firebirds as defensive back in 2010 . . . named offensive MVP of the U.S. Army National Combine in 2011 after recording the most dominant offensive performance during the skill and position drills . . . as a senior at Chaparral, volunteered as a middle school mentor and also served as a youth football coach . . . coached by Charlie Ragle at Chaparral High School . . . born June 16, 1993.