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McKeesport linebacker chooses Illinois

Written by Mike White on .

McKeesport linebacker T.J. Neal is headed to the Big Ten Conference.

T.J._Neal_head_shot_webNeal made a verbal commitment to Illinois tonight. He took an official visit to the school this weekend. Neal was a member of the Post-Gazette Fabulous 22 this past season.

The funny thing is a few months ago Neal said he had narrowed his colleges to three - and Illinois was not one of them. He said Nebraska, West Virginia and Syracuse were his top choices. He also visited Nebraska.

Then Illinois' new staff started recruiting Neal in December and convinced him to take a visit. Neal said tonight his other top choice was Central Florida, with West Virginia next. He canceled a trip to Central Florida next weekend.

"I just like the whole setup at Illinois," Neal said. "I liked how they interacted with the players. I had a real nice time with the players and the other recruits, too. I liked going out with the fellows. I loved everything about it. It's just a feeling I had that I wanted to go there and play in the Big Ten."

Neal is the second WPIAL linebacker to commit to a Division I college this weekend. Woodland Hills' Mike Caprara committed to Pitt while on his visit to the school.

Elsewhere in recruiting, Sto-Rox linebacker Deaysean Rippy visited Arizona this weekend.

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