Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral receiver Davonte Neal nearly stood up several elementary kids Tuesday.
Neal, who started the day as the top uncommitted 2012 prospect in country, was supposed to announce his collegiate choice Tuesday morning at Kyrene de la Esperanza Elementary School in Phoenix, but as television cameras, media and the school children who had been called to a special assembly waited, Neal never showed up.
"We had a lot unfortunate things happen. At about 2 a.m. we had deeper family issues that we're trying keep private right now," Luke Neal told IrishIllustrated.com. "The biggest part wasn't the schools (Notre Dame or Arizona), it was what family was going to come (to the school) and what family had to stay (at home)."
Neal ultimately came back to the school — long after the television media had left — and ended up choosing Notre Dame. He signed and sent his national letter of intent to the Irish Tuesday afternoon, but the drama of the day caused hours of speculation as to why Neal missed his original press conference in the first place.
Initial reports cited a rift between Neal and his father over Neal's choice. Neal wanted to stay close to home and go to Arizona while his father thought Notre Dame was a better choice. Twenty days after National Signing Day it seemed as though there still wasn't a resolution. But Luke Neal insists that the family issue was the root of the problem.
"I had to be the bad guy and say 'You know what, we've got to take the emotions out of this somehow and how do we do it?" Luke Neal said. "I think not everyone understanding, somebody in the family had to stand up, be bad guy and say this is how it has to be for now."
When Neal finally decided on Notre Dame, no one was happier than Luke Neal. He said the decision to go to Notre Dame was divine intervention. According to IrishIllustrated.com, Neal's decision was ultimately swayed after a South Bend newspaper had an article of him next to an article about the Notre Dame basketball team upsetting No. 1 Syracuse.
"It was a sign spiritually that this is where you need to go," Luke Neal told the website. "It said that this is where God wants you to be."