Nearly three weeks after National Signing Day, Notre Dame landed one of its most coveted recruits of the incoming class of 2012.
Davonte Neal, a 5-star wide receiver from suburban Phoenix, chose the Irish over Arizona but the story of how he finally chose ND will go down as one of the more ridiculous ones in recruiting history.
Neal was scheduled to announce his decision at his elementary school, Kyrene de la Esperanza Tuesday morning. More than 600 kids packed the auditorium to hear his decision. His National Letter of Intent was in a Fedex envelope ready to be signed.
One problem---Davonte was no where to be found.
Neal's decision wasn't as clear cut as first thought and he wasn't ready to sign when the time came at 9:00am local time in Phoenix. Instead, the kids waited and waited and so did FoxSportsArizona.com which was broadcasting the event live on the internet.
The twitter world was blowing up as Neal was still no where to be found one hour after he was supposed to announce his decision. Then came the announcement--from the Principal--Davonte wasn't coming.
The 600 kids filed out of the auditorium and went back to class, recess, lunch---who knows.
A few hours later, Neal returned to the school and went class by class apologizing to the students for not showing up.
He then announced--not to a giant assembly, not live on the internet on FoxSportsArizona but instead to a small collection of reporters.
Notre Dame was his choice. Well, it was more like his dad's choice. The issue was that Davonte was leaning towards Arizona while dad wanted him to be with Touchdown Jesus. The Grotto, Brian Kelly, and the Irish faithful prevailed in the end. ND fans can thank a persistent father for that.
Neal then got on the phone with Irish coach Brian Kelly--who stayed on the phone with Davonte by his fax machine at Notre Dame until the fax actually came through to make it official. Kelly wasn't going to let this one slip away.
On signing day, the Irish shockingly lost out on another prized wide receiver recruit Deontay Greenberry, who at the very last minute signed with Houston over the Irish.
It was bizarre, but in the end, Kelly got his guy this time.
Neal is considered one of the very best wide receivers and punt returners in the country. He stands just 5'11 and weighs 190 pounds.
His commitment boosts Notre Dame's recruiting class into the top 10 according to ESPN.com.