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Commitment focus: DeAndre McNeal (by: Mike Roach)

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in Recruiting By Mike Roach

While the recruitment of Malik Jefferson has been covered from just about every angle, the recruitment of his Mesquite Poteet (TX) teammate Deandre McNeal has generated nearly as much interest. McNeal ended all speculation when he chose the Longhorns on Friday during an announcement ceremony with Jefferson at Poteet High School.

Known as a versatile athlete that can play on both sides of the ball, McNeal made it clear early on that he wanted to play receiver at the next level. McNeal chose the Longhorns over offers from Texas A&M, UCLA, Alabama, Oklahoma, and TCU. McNeal mentioned earlier in the year that Charlie Strong promised him he would get the ball on the first play of the game against Notre Dame next season. With McNeal’s size and athleticism he certainly has a chance to contribute right away when he gets to Austin. McNeal kept things close to the vest during his recruitment, but the Longhorns were a constant in his top schools.

Film Analysis: (Note: We only evaluated McNeal as a receiver)

At 6’2 210 lbs., McNeal is a powerfully built player. He’s incredibly versatile contributing at linebacker, receiver, running back, quarterback, and on special teams. As a receiver McNeal is a very fluid athlete with great body control and smooth movement. His straight line speed isn’t elite but it still rates highly and he has no problems getting caught from behind.

McNeal plays very physically at receiver and is a natural hands catcher. McNeal does have some work to do with his route running, but his quickness and change of direction skills allow him to separate from defenders without precise route running. In the open field, McNeal benefits from his low pad level and elusiveness. He’s a powerful runner who loves to initiate contact and is hard to bring down.

McNeal is also a plus player when he has to go up to get a ball. His leaping ability and strong hands make him a red zone threat and allow him to beat tight coverage. He is truly a player that is only scratching the surface on his ability and could either play inside or on the boundary.

Final Verdict: 

McNeal is an interesting player for the Texas offense because he appears to be an incredibly athletic physical receiver who still has a lot of room to grow. While he doesn’t blow you away with freakish skills he has a great set of tools and seems to make plays every time the ball is in his hands. There’s a good chance McNeal might turn out to be a better player than his teammate Jefferson. I would say McNeal’s ceiling could forecast him as a multi year starter who could flourish in a creative offense. Depending on his measurable stats he could be an early round draft pick and multiple time all conference player. 
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I know nothing about DeAndre, other than what is posted on various boards but, I LIKE THIS KID.  I like the fact that he appears to have made his own decision- Not follow the crowd.  The old statement "that character is what you do when no one else will know" is so true.  It would have been so easy to follow the others to the hot team.  But to have enough sense to actually weigh the current facts and think about how your current decisions will effect your future, is extremely rare this day and time.

I hope that both Malik and DeAndre excel at Texas and have a great life.  I think they both took a huge step in that direction today. 

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