Feature Photo courtesy of Cassandra McNeill
Alim McNeill, a 6-foot-1 junior from Sanderson High School in Raleigh, North Carolina, takes pride in playing both smart and hard, focusing on athletics and an education.
“I’m looking for a school with good education and a good football atmosphere,” said McNeill, who plans on studying biology in college.
McNeill knew he had a future in football not long after beginning high school, earning the starting tight end spot his freshman year.
This past season McNeill recorded 94 tackles and two interception on defense, while also scoring 12 offensive touchdowns. McNeill credits this success to studying film with his coaches.
“On game day, I go to the library to chill,” he said. “I watch film on the opposing team before our game. Come game time, my mind is set on what I need to do.”
McNeill believes this gameday routine has payed off, as he’s earned 25 scholarship offers, most notably from Maryland, Duke, Virginia Tech and NC State.
“The recruiting process is hectic,” McNeill said. “I like it a lot. There are a lot of coaches talking to me.”
In the fall, McNeill can be found on the football field playing a number of positions: defensive end, inside linebacker, halfback, fullback and tight end. But in the spring, McNeill can be found in right field playing baseball.
“Growing up, I did a lot of training,” McNeill said. “I went to pitching camps and worked out with a lot of coaches. I also did a lot of travel baseball and did more training with baseball than football.”
McNeill started playing baseball at the age of 8 and instantly enjoyed it. Now, he plans on playing baseball in college and looks forward to balancing both sports.
He considers himself a hybrid on both the baseball diamond and football field and is willing to play anywhere.
Because McNeill is versatile on the football field, he is getting recruited to play as an athlete. When you get recruited as an athlete, you are not recruited for a specific position. However, that does not bother McNeill, as he just wants an opportunity to play.
Playing both offense and defense on the football field has helped McNeill because he sees the game from two perspectives.
McNeill’s dad Kenneth credits his success on the football field to his early days of playing youth football.
“Early on, he’s always played up two age groups and dominated,” his dad said. “Next year will be the first time ever where he will be playing with his age group.”
McNeill also finds motivation through his parents: Kenneth and Cassandra.
“My family motivates me to be great,” McNeill said. “My parents not having to pay for college is important to me. They are keeping me humble and I want to continue to work hard for them. My goal is to play in college and get a college degree.”
Going into his senior year, McNeill has goals of making the all state team, winning defensive player of the year, and Gatorade Player of the Year and lastly winning a state championship.
These are big goals, but McNeill knows that with the work he has been putting in, all of these goals can be accomplished.
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