Neal played a big part as a true freshman last year, with his daily duty being returning punts. He had 21 returns for 46 yards, which isn’t very good, but he held onto the football. Only had 1 reception for negative 5 yards, but wasn’t regularly on offense. It isn’t a matter of playing time for his transfer, but he has just become a father. He wanted to arrange his long-time girlfriend to move up to South Bend, but in the end it was easier for him to transfer back out west.
It is reported that he will look at several Pac-12 schools over the next couple of weeks. Neal is originally from Scottsdale, AZ. The Universities of Arizona and Arizona State will be two that will be looked at right away, since they are in state for Devonte. While disappointing to see Neal leave it is a tough situation for him and he is doing the right thing for himself and his family.
This does put Notre Dame in a bind since Neal was probably going to play slot this season and now with Amir Carlisle out with a broken collarbone, it is possible one of the true freshman wide receivers will be called upon to start/in rotation in the slot position.
To this date there have been 4 players from the 2012 recruiting class that have transferred to other schools, which includes Kiel, Neal, Tee Shepard, and Deontay Greenberry. All of these guys were highly recruited coming out of high school and now they are gone. Neal deserves a pass, since this is about family and the fact he wanted to stay at Notre Dame, but it couldn’t be worked out. This will in fact open up spots for recruits and preferred walk-ons for the 2014 recruiting class.