November 26, 2008

Decision anything but Neat for Florida speedster

Korvic Neat is torn.

When he committed to Florida International earlier in the season, the 5-foot-9, 175-pound all-purpose back from Hallandale Beach (Hallandale), Fla., was basically under the recruiting radar.

Then colleges began to see his senior film, and that changed rapidly. Offers began to roll in from Ole Miss, Iowa State, North Carolina, Rutgers and Southern Mississippi, among others. Neat liked the sales pitch he got from Troy, and when Ole Miss made him a top priority, he was flattered and tempted.

He still is both of those things, but Neat feels loyalty to Florida International. The speedster will try to lead his Hallandale team to a second-round playoff win over Miami's Booker T. Washington Friday, and he's let the season be a distraction of sorts for the looming conflict. But when the season ends, either with a playoff loss or a state championship trophy, a huge decision will have to be made. Will Neat stick with the Owls and risk regretting the opportunity to play in the Southeastern Conference or will be lured away from home by the big lights and the big hype of one of college football's premier leagues?

"It's very hard," Neat said Tuesday night. "My mom (Yolanda Johnson) is trying to tell me to keep my cool and do what's best for me. So I'm just trying to think right now about what I should do."

Two schools, Ole Miss and Troy, have really piqued Neat's interest of late. This past Saturday, the Rebels whipped LSU, 31-13, in Tiger Stadium to improve to 7-4 overall, 4-3 in the SEC, and moved into the national rankings and the driver's seat for a trip to the Cotton Bowl in the process. The game was televised nationally by CBS, but Neat didn't watch. He saw the score, however, and he's been thinking about the Rebels since.

"I was surprised," Neat said. "I knew it would be a good game, but I didn't think they'd come away with the win. But they did, and that really opened my eyes. They're a really good team. They went on the road and beat two of the best schools in the SEC. I get the impression that they really want me to come there and be an impact for them."

Neat said that he's tentatively planning to visit Ole Miss next weekend, depending on what happens with Friday's playoff game as well as his mother's ability to purchase an airline ticket. A Dec. 12 official visit is also a real possibility. If the Rebels are going to pull him away from FIU and to Ole Miss, however, they'll need to sell him on more than just football prowess.

"Nationally-ranked, I don't really look at that part," Neat said. "I look at the academics. They tell me they have good academics. That's why I want to take a visit up there to see for myself."

So, when it comes time to put pen to paper, can Ole Miss get Neat's signature on a national letter-of-intent?

"That's a really tough question," Neat said. "I don't know, to tell you the truth. I'm trying to get my mom to come up with me on the visit and see what she thinks. I think she wants me to stay home, but if I want to go out of town, she'd support me, and that's a tough decision, because I'm a mama's boy. I guess I'd try to fly her up to come to the games and stuff."

Neat is on track to qualify academically.

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