AURORA | Grant Neal wrestled with his decision for awhile, but he chose to play football at Colorado State-Pueblo.
The Regis Jesuit football standout — who is also a state champion wrestler — announced his verbal commitment via social media on Tuesday, as he joined teammate Quinn VandeKoppel in pledging to the powerhouse Division II program.
As a running back, the bruising 5-foot-10, 215-pounder racked up 747 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Raiders, who went 9-2 overall before losing to Grandview in the Class 5A state playoffs, while he also recorded a pair of sacks and 37 tackles as part of Regis Jesuit’s stout corps of linebackers. Neal was selected to the All-Continental League first team as a fullback and to the all-league second team as a linebacker.
“I am very blessed. I have officially committed to play football at Colorado State University-Pueblo,” Neal posted on his facebook page. “Thanks to everyone who has supported me!!”
The national athletic letter of intent signing day for football is Feb. 5. Neal is expected to be part of a signing ceremony at Regis Jesuit that also includes VandeKoppel, Terran Hasselbach (University of Colorado) and Jalen Williams (who has verbally committed to Drake) and possibly others.
On the wrestling mat, Neal is currently undefeated and ranked No. 1 at 220 pounds in 5A by On The Mat and is a heavy favorite to win his second straight wrestling title.
Neal’s commitment strengthens the heavy Aurora-flavor of the CSU-Pueblo football program, as he is the fifth player from an Aurora school to commit. VandeKoppel and Eaglecrest defensive lineman Deyon Sizer made their decisions in the past three days, while Cherokee Trail defensive back Thomas Thortvedt and Grandview offensive lineman Gabe Cirivello also picked the Pack.
CSU-Pueblo’s preliminary 2014 roster already includes a few other players who went to Aurora schools: CB Stephen Dickens (Cherokee Trail), LB Robert Davis (Overland) and RB Jonathan Mathews (Rangeview), plus Blake Swain (Denver East) and Ronell McNeal (Prairie View), who list Aurora as their hometown.
Former Grandview assistant coach Steve Sewell is on the ThunderHawks’ coaching staff.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel