The recruiting process wouldn't be the same without its share of twists and turns down the home stretch.
Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral athlete Davonte Neal made his college decision last week and was prepared to let his choice be known during a scheduled announcement this morning at his elementary school, Kyrene de la Esperanza.
With 600 students assembled and waiting for an hour for Neal to choose from Arizona, Arkansas, North Carolina and Notre Dame, the alum never walked through the doors to make the announcement.
It's clear that more time was needed in making the decision, despite how "100 percent" the situation may have seemed, but holding to their word, the family did show up on the school's campus prior to dismissal to follow through with signing the National Letter of Intent in the school they felt played in instrumental part in Davonte's academic growth.
According to the Arizona Republic, his plan was to go to each classroom to apologize to the students for not attending the scheduled event earlier in the school day.
While it appeared that the in-state program was able to retake momentum in the final hour after being removed from serious consideration privately the week prior, the 247Sports No. 53 prospect in the land remained firm in his decision to attend Notre Dame due to the combination of academics and athletics.
"It came down to the ability to have the best of both worlds at his disposal," Luke Neal, Davonte's dad, reported to BlueandGold.com on Monday night of the choice. "The ability to put himself in an environment to be successful his very first year. And to be around right-minded individuals that have the career aspect that he does.
"Davonte being able to make his decision based on the business aspect rather than just a personal satisfaction was a great thing for him. He didn't settle, but he reached out beyond that point and became the player he has the potential to become while making a hard choice."
The two-time Gatorade Player of the Year in Arizona rushed for 1,317 yards and 16 touchdowns and reeled in 62 passes for 1,113 yards and 14 touchdowns in his senior campaign. He played in the 2012 Under Armour All-America Game.
Notre Dame's late signing of the versatile athlete doesn't eliminate the loss of wide receiver Deontay Greenberry to Houston and cornerback Ronald Darby to Florida State, but it certainly lessens the blow.
All recruiting processes must come to an end, and now the page can be turned for Davonte Neal's.
Check back with BlueandGold.com for more on No. 17 of Notre Dame's 2012 signing class.
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