As the Texas Longhorns try to add some talent in the 2015 recruiting class, the staff extended an offer on Wednesday evening to versatile Mesquite Poteet athlete DeAndre McNeal:
Got offered by Texas #HookEm— DeAndre McNeal7⃣ (@tbhmcNEal) May 29, 2014
The 6'2, 228-pounder plays an offense and defense for Poteet -- at wide receiver, running back, and linebacker. He told Orangebloods that the Horns like him on either side of the ball and he could certainly add a dynamic option at H-back or a hard-hitting presence at linebacker. But more on that later.
Rated as a mid three-star prospect in the 247Sports Composite rankings, but a near four-star prospect by 247Sports (rating of 88), McNeal is the No. 74 athlete and the No. 107 player in Texas. 247Sports has him as the No. 45 athlete and No. 63 player in the state.
His offer list is reflective of a player with talents much closer to the 247Sports rankings -- he currently holds offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Iowa, Miami, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, TCU, Tennessee, Texas Tech, UCLA, Vanderbilt, and Wisconsin, among others.
There aren't currently any schools listed above the others for him and he doesn't have a lot of predictions in his 247Sports Crystal Ball, so his recruitment seems to be pretty genuinely open at this point, which is obviously good news for the Horns. Texas Tech is currently the perceived leader in the Crystal Ball by a wide margin.
There has been some interest in the Longhorns, as McNeal visited last spring for one of the Sophomore Day events and then took another visit last fall for the game against Kansas.
As a junior, McNeal racked up nearly 1,000 total yards offensively in a break-out year for Poteet and scored 20 touchdowns, doing work both as a running back and an inside wide receiver.
As a running back or a receiver, McNeal is a load in the open field and often has tacklers bounce off of him because of his strength. Since tackling him high isn't an option, defenders often try to go low to take out his legs, but he has a stiff arm and slide-cut combination that can render those attempts unsuccessful as well, while his size means that he only has to make subtle cuts to avoid tackles. To make matters even more difficult for defenders, he also has a spin move.
That body control translates to the wide receiver position, where he can contort his body to make catches and also shows a nice vertical leap to high-point the football, though he unfortunately hasn't tested at any camps to provide any verification for the 4.50 40 time listed on his Hudl page. He does run track for Poteet and posted a personal-best 11.19 100m this spring, which is not a bad time for someone pushing 230 pounds. And his film definitely suggests that he has plenty of speed for the H-back or linebacker positions.
Since H-backs with the athleticism and open-field moves of McNeal are hard to come by, his greatest value may lie there, especially since there isn't any available film of him. Playing an inside wide receiver position would likely be the quickest way to get on the field offensively in college, as operating as a move blocker could take some time to learn and he doesn't have the pure size that is ideal to play in-line.
There are certainly some schools recruiting him at linebacker, though, and it's not hard to imagine his athleticism translating nicely there, too.
McNeal is a take on his own, clearly, so the fact that his teammate is five-star linebacker Malik Jefferson is just a bonus. The relationships that Jefferson has with the East Texas kids and with Wednesday pledge Kyler Murray could end up out-weighing the connection to his current teammate, anyway.
Texas has a need for an H-back and at linebacker in this class, which is the real impetus behind this offer, and McNeal would make a nice addition to the class, even if Jefferson ends up at Texas A&M or another school.