Davonte’ Neal’s winding journey is about to take another twist.
Notre Dame announced Tuesday that Neal, a 2011 high school All-American from Scottsdale Chaparral and five-star recruit in the 2012 class, is leaving the school after one year.
As you might recall, Neal’s signing with Notre Dame came only after a protracted drama involving a gymnasium full of elementary school students who had gathered to witness Neal’s Letter of Intent signing — 20 days after National Signing Day — only to be kept waiting for more than an hour when Neal failed to show.
Neal reportedly had narrowed his choices to Notre Dame and Arizona — and his no-show was reportedly precipitated by a difference of opinion between him and his father, Luke. Later in the same day, Neal told a group of reporters he was headed to Notre Dame.
Less than a week later, Neal switched high schools, transferring from Chaparral to Phoenix Central to finish the school year (Chaparral had already won the Division II state championship).
Jason Sapp of 247Sports was first to report Neal’s decision to leave school.
Luke Neal, who is an athletic trainer, told Sapp that Davonte’ is transferring to be closer to his daughter, who was born in February, and his girlfriend’s family.
Neal had one reception for Notre Dame as a freshman and served as its primary punt returner, averaging 2.2 yards on 21 returns.
Neal’s high school coach, Charlie Ragle, joined Rich Rodriguez’s staff at Arizona in an administrative role after the 2011 season and has since been given an on-field position as tight ends coach. Whether the connection with Ragle maintains any sway with Neal remains to be seen, but the Arizona Republic reported that Luke Neal and Ragle have experienced a falling out.
Luke Neal told 247Sports that a California school might be on his son’s radar. Neal would have to sit out a season as a redshirt if he transfers to a BCS school.