SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Among the numerous talented players on the North Carolina roster for the annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, is Rivals250 cornerback Raeshon McNeil, who has a quiet confidence about him. He hardly says much to many. Of course, one thing that he does get vocal about is when people ask about the Notre Dame hat that he has worn since the moment he arrived at the Radisson Hotel.
The four-star rated McNeil made his pledge to play for Notre Dame in August and since then he has shut the door on other schools trying to get him to rethink his choice. At the same time, McNeil who has been surrounded by many top prospects at these events knows that he was not going to try and saw any others his way.
Regardless, nothing has changed on his feelings for his future home in South Bend.
"Besides the fact that it is a great school, with great coaches, the trip to USC really was the big difference for me," McNeil said. "The fans made you feel at home. Like, when they scored, they threw all the recruits up in the air for however many points they scored. Then when we were outside the gate, fans knew who I was and I wasn't even wearing a nametag."
"It makes you feel really good."
Schools still send mail to McNeil on a regular basis and Virginia Tech even called to check his interest in possibly looking around. Politely, the No. 5 rated player in North Carolina said he was not interested.
Now, with the Shrine Bowl events taking place this week, the 6-foot, 175-pound prospect is ready for the final games of his high school career to take place.
'It's definitely something I've been looking forward to all through high school," McNeil said about the annual contest. "I've known several players to play in this. It's an honor to be selected and not many players get this chance, so I get excited about it. A lot of people talk and call players overrated. It doesn't get to me, but I want to prove myself to all those people."
McNeil's regular season ended with an 11-3 record, but an offensive scheme switch before the year allowed him to play some receiver. Those stats included 725 yards and seven touchdowns. Defensively he also put together seven interceptions.
His season was definitely helped considering the star player didn't have to do any college decision making.
"I didn't have to worry about what other players worry about because it definitely takes the strain off of you once you commit," McNeil said. "If you already have the grades, then that's one less thing you have to worry about as well. I had the opportunity to concentrate on what's important and finish my high school season well."