The former coach of the Florida Gators and current coach of Ohio State had earned a verbal commitment from Lewis Neal after the Buckeyes’ spring game in April. But an offer from an SEC powerhouse proved too much for Neal to pass on.
“I don’t know, my scholarship is open he said (Coach Meyer), so I guess I’m not committed anymore, but I still consider them,” Neal said. I just don’t think I was ready yet and took the right amount of time to think on my decision to be honest.”
The 2013 class is quickly filling up for LSU, who has now gotten pledges from four defensive linemen. Neal’s commitment leaves LSU with six spots to fill.
Neal collected 88 tackles, eight sacks and three forced fumbles as a junior. As a sophomore, Neal had 96 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 6.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
He helped lead his high school team to a 13-1 record before losing in the Eastern Final.
“I’m from Hunt and we love winning,” he said. “I’ve got to continue to win.”
Neal also received scholarship offers from Clemson, Kentucky, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and others. He is rated a 3-star recruit by Rivals and 24/7, a 4-star in ESPN’s rankings.
The way Neal made his decision known, however, may be worth five stars. He announced his intention to play for LSU over a ballpark public address system after the fourth inning of a game between his hometown Wilson Tobs and the Edenton Steamers in a Coastal Plains League summer baseball game.
Neal removed his shirt to reveal an LSU t-shirt and then made the announcement.
“To make a long story short, I’ll be taking my talents to LSU. Go Tigers.”
Neal is excited about LSU for many reasons, including the rabid fan base. But another thing stuck out in his mind involving a long time dream of his.
“You can go pro anywhere you go, but you can’t make your decision based on getting to the NFL,” he said. “It’s nice to know that that school puts a lot of players in the NFL from that position.”
When Neal visited LSU on June 23, he had this to say to Tiger Sports World: “Coach Miles wanted to let me know that he wasn’t going to pressure me into a commitment, even though he really wants me to be a part of this class. That is something that I like a lot, because other schools have tried to pressure me into a commitment.
“I believe I would like to have my decision by the end of the summer so I can concentrate and focus on helping my (high school) team.”
Much to the chagrin of Meyer and the Buckeyes, Neal didn’t even wait that long.