Sunday, February 26, 2006

The First Verbal

National Signing Day for the Class of 2010 occurred just mere weeks ago, yet Charlie Weis is already working full steam ahead to the Class of 2011 and this past Friday, Weis got his first verbal commitment, Kerry Neal, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound defensive end/tight end from Bunn, North Carolina. Not much is known about Neal by the recruiting services and most college programs outside of the North Carolina area, as the only schools who had interest in Neal to this point were Wake Forest and East Carolina.

While the lack of interest from marquee schools in Neal might seem concerning at first glance, there are a few things to keep in mind. One, we are extremely early in the recruiting process and many coaches have just began to look at the tapes of the upcoming recruiting class. Two, Neal plays in the middle of nowhere North Carolina, so it shouldn't be surprising that a program like Florida or Michigan has yet to come knocking at his door. You can draw some parallels to the recruitment of Neal to the recruitment of Rasheon McNeil. Like Neal, McNeil played in the middle of nowhere in North Carolina and was not as well known as guys like Darrin Walls or Myron Rolle, but Weis saw something in the tapes of McNeil and offered him a scholarship. Then when McNeil was given a chance in the spotlight at the Army All-American game, he was dominant and had Urban Meyer trying to steal him away to Florida. Neal obviously showed Weis something special in his tapes to make Weis leave a message for his coach at 5:30 in morning to let Neal know that he was offering a scholarship. Hell, I'm impressed that Weis is looking at game films at 5:30 am. The only thing the last regime did at 5:30 am was starting a round at the Warren Golf Course.

As for where Neal will play, he will either be a speed rusher defensive end or an outside linebacker. He did have over 100 tackles last season at defensive end which is just ridiculous, though if he were to play defensive end in college, he is going to have to bulk up at least 15-25 pounds.