With the 4.4-second 40-yard speed and athleticism that
possesses, DeSmet Jesuit (St. Louis, Mo.)
opponents may be forced into playing a secondary game of "Now you see him and now you don't" under the Friday night lights this fall.
Not only is the Oklahoma commit capable of scoring on any given play, DeSmet Jesuit coach Pat Mahoney plans to take advantage of Neal's fleet feet and versatility by moving the speedster all over the football field.
"He could play as many as five positions for us and play each at a very high level," Mahoney said. "We plan on moving him all over the field. He's so difficult to defend because once they find him, they will have to stay with him."
Although the recruiting process isn't officially over for the No. 47 player on MaxPreps' 2012 Top 100 Recruit List
, Neal said he has no need to consider any other football programs, or for other schools to consider him. Oklahoma is his team. "I'm a loyal guy," Neal said. "If I commit to something, I'm going to follow through with it."
Neal liked the small size of the Big 12 school and the fact that he was within walking distance of just about anything he needed. The great respect and tradition of 'Sooner Nation' didn't hurt either.
"They are the most dangerous team in America," Neal said. "Offensively, they throw the ball a lot. They're a pass first offense and as a receiver you really like that. They win championships. They've won conference championships. They don't just talk about it - they do it. That's something I want to be a part of. I'm excited."
Injuries forced Neal into action at quarterback for the Spartans a year ago. But Mahoney said the only time he will utilize Neal as his signal caller is when the Spartans line up in the Wildcat formation, allowing Neal to either run with the ball, or throw it.
Otherwise, Neal will line up at tailback, out of the slot and as a flanker the majority of the time on offense.
Neal is a big hit as a defensive back too. The 6-foot, 198-pounder has acquired a reputation for playing sideline to sideline and for being explosive on special teams.
Regardless of where Mahoney displays Neal's talents, the speedster has the numbers to back up his coach's decisions. Going into his senior campaign, Neal has hauled in 47 career receptions for 1,097 yards and 18 touchdowns to go along with 1,156 rushing yards and another 14 scores on 124 carries.
On defense, Neal has been in on 51 tackles and intercepted eight passes. The returning Missouri Football Coach's Association first team All-State Athlete, has also piled up 808 yards on 32 punt returns and 261 yards on 10 kickoff returns.
Neal has scored an additional eight touchdowns collectively between his defensive and kick and punt returns.
"Anybody that can't find him pays the price," Mahoney said of Neal. "He literally is a threat to score any time he touches the ball. His speed, athletic ability and desire make him a tough guy to bring down."
According to Mahoney, the academic grind that sometimes comes along with attending a private Jesuit school can challenge its students and athletes. But Neal won't allow sluggish habits to penetrate the practice field.
Neal is always wearing a smile and he is willing to sing, dance and talk the Spartans through practice. Mahoney likened Neal's demeanor at practice to playing a sound track on the field at all times.
Don't think for a minute, however, that Neal takes his preparation lightly.
"It's just me being myself," he said. "I'm always smiling, and I like to sing and dance. At practice it's fun to do a little trash-talking. Guys are competing and making noise. It livens everybody up."
As his final high school football season approaches, Neal simply wants to stay healthy and to help some of his younger Spartan teammates get some notice of their own. He insists that DeSmet Jesuit football isn't just about Durron Neal this season.
With the blend of talent Mahoney's squad has mixed with Neal's explosiveness, Neal is hoping for nothing short of a state championship season.
"I want people to see that my school has more talent than just me," he said. "I want to lead the guys by my example and by working hard. I want to motivate them when they get down. Then, when I'm called on to make a play, that's what I'm going to do."
Mahoney is counting on it. And counting on the rest of the Spartans too.
"We're telling the guys that Durron can do it all, but not without us," Mahoney said. "We have to be able to rely on each other. We have to be a team.'"
Just the same, Mahoney is well aware of the talent Neal brings to the football field. Neal, he said, is a real student of the game.
"There is nothing to not like about him," Mahoney said. "He's a force on special teams, he's got great hands and he's so explosive. He's probably playing at college weight now and before he's done I think he'll be a 4.3 (in the 40) guy. He's ranked No. 47 for a reason. We've had a lot of great players come through here, but none as complete as he is. I believe his best years are in front of him."
Like right ahead of him, Neal says. He plans to make a huge splash the moment he steps on the field in Norman.
"I want to impact the team early," Neal said. "I want to go in there and give the Oklahoma coaches what they deserve. They took a chance on me. They took a chance on a kid from St. Louis. I don't want to let them down. I want them to see that there is talent down here."
Almost all are clear that Missouri boasts the nation's No. 1 recruit in Dorial Green-Beckham
, a 6-6 receiver from Hillcrest (Springfield, Mo.)
His rather large shadow perhaps has hidden the vast talents of Neal. Not so says MaxPreps/CBS recruiting expert Tom Lemming.
"You just need a couple of minutes at DeSmet to watch Mr. Neal in action and understand why so many schools believe he has what it takes to become an impact receiver at the college level," Lemming said. "He's blessed with sure hands, great speed, leaping ability and creative moves."