As a sophomore, Rickey Neal played his first full season of varsity football, and while many young players struggle with the increase in competition level, that was not the case with him.
"I'd say it wasn't a tough transition at all because lower levels of football came easy to me," he explained. "Once I got to the higher level, it was fun. It was exciting to play better competition. I did the best I could with what I had."
As a junior, Neal really blossomed. Playing quarterback, he rushed for 1,259 yards and passed for 480, scoring 17 combined touchdowns along the way. He was team MVP, named 1st Team All-Conference, All-Region and All-Area.
At 6'3, 200-lbs, he has the size schools look for. Even better, he has a 3.6 GPA in the classroom. As a result, schools have been stopping in to check in on him.
"Colleges that stopped by are Michigan State, Ball State, Minnesota, Central Michigan, and Northern Illinois. As far as I can remember, those are the only ones, but I know some schools are interested in me like Wisconsin and North Dakota."
One thing coaches will have to figure out is where to best use Neal's array of physical tools.
"They're really just moving me around at any skill position and all things I'm capable of: quarterback, wide receiver, running back, some safety, even tight end too."
Neal doesn't mind projecting to any of those spots, saying, "whatever it takes to get to the next level."
There is little doubt that as more schools find out about this talented athlete, he will continue to receive more and more mail and interest. When that happens, he hopes to hear more from the two bitter rivals he says he followed growing up.
"The Ohio State University and Michigan, those were the two, even though they were rivals, they were the two I always followed. Michigan sent some mail, just interest letters and I liked the Florida State Seminoles too."