Notre Dame wide receiver and punt returner Davonte Neal is transferring to Arizona, according to Jason Sapp of 247 Sports. Neal is returning to his home state to be closer to his family. Neal nearly chose the Wildcats over the Fighting Irish as a high school senior. Sapp reports that Neal will apply for a hardship waiver in hopes of being eligible in 2013.
That decision was a tough one for Neal, who failed to attend his own selection ceremony. He struggled with his own desires (staying home in Arizona) and pleasing his father (heading to Notre Dame). Neal's absence led to unintentional hilarity, with children being forced into a multiple-set xylophone performance.
The efforts of those brave children will not be in vain, as Neal will return home to Arizona and play for Rich Rodriguez. Neal is an excellent fit for the Wildcats' offense and should get far more opportunities than he did at Notre Dame. He is excited to be back home, per Sapp:
"The primary reason I chose Arizona was because it was close to my family and my daughter can come see me everyday – that was the most important to me and having that family support," Neal said. "The way Coach Rodriguez throws the ball around is amazing. They do it the entire game. I’ll have an opportunity to play inside and outside receiver in the offense. He does know how to get the ball in his players’ hands and from there they make plays."
Neal served as the primary punt returner for the Irish last season and caught just one pass for negative yardage. As Kevin Zimmerman of Arizona Desert Swarm points out, he was a five-star recruit, originally.