J.C. Neal only has only played running back in high school for half a season, however it appears running back may be the position of his future. The 6-1, 180 pound Lakewood (Sumter, SC) star rushed for 900 yards last season, playing only the final five games at tailback. He played quarterback the first half of the season.
“J.C. plays running back for us, but with his speed we move him into the slot sometimes,” Lakewood Head Coach Greg Crolley said. “Next year he’s going to touch the ball at least 25 times a game. What makes him so good on offense is that once he sees the hole, he explodes through it. On defense, we play him at safety because he sees the field so well.”
Neal holds 15 official scholarship offers including Auburn, Clemson, Duke (first offer), Florida State, Iowa State, Maryland, NC State, Ohio State, South Carolina, UNC, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, and more. He impressed coaches for both UNC and NC State recently, running a 4.45 in the 40 during UNC’s camp and a 4.39 during NC State’s camp.
Tech, led by lead recruiter Danny Pearman, and NC State are the top two schools right now.
“My top two are NC State and Virginia Tech,” Neal said. “I’ve been up [to Virginia Tech before]. It was the first school I had really seen. I liked it.”
Of NC State, Neal says “I liked it up there. I really like the coaching staff.”
Neal’s first and only visit to Tech came during last year’s Nike Camp in Blacksburg. Despite the bad weather, he enjoyed his experience and looks forward to returning next month for a one-day camp.
“It rained, but it was a lot of fun,” Neal said of last year’s Nike experience in Blacksburg. “There was a lot of competition. Virginia Tech was big. It was nice. I’m going back on July 10th for camp. I’m excited about it.”
Like many other schools, Tech likes Neal as a running back.
“I know Virginia Tech likes him a lot as a running back,” Crolley said. “They like the way he hits a hole. He’s just so quick and fast.”
Football-wise, playing time seems to be the primary factor in Neal’s decision.
“Playing time is a factor,” Neal said. “I want the possibility to play my freshman year. I wouldn’t mind red-shirting as long as I can play the year after I red-shirt.”
In terms of location, Neal is looking to leave the state. He admits there is a chance he stays in-state, but right now wants to go out-of-state.
“I don’t know that I will leave...
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