By Trevor Enerson (yaman3), CycloneFanatic.com’s Football Recruiting Fan Blogger
What he is: Nealy is a 5-foot-10, 175-pound all-purpose running back out of Monticello, Fla. Nealy was perhaps Iowa State’s most high profile recruit in the class of 2011, as Rivals.com ranked him as the ninth-ranked all-purpose back in the country, claiming offers from the like of Alabama, Auburn, Michigan and Stanford among many others. As a high school player, he excelled as both a runner and receiver out of the backfield. In his junior season, Nealy rushed for over 1900 yards and averaged over nine yards per carry.
What he does: Nealy is a threat both running the football and catching it out of the backfield. He has big play capabilities as he has the quickness to get to a seam and the speed to break away.
Strengths/Weaknesses: As a runner, he possesses great vision and the ability to set up blocks. From the video I have watched, Nealy looks to be the type of runner who likes to find a seam and go. In traffic, he breaks arm tackles often. His lateral quickness isn’t that of Shontrelle Johnson but it is certainly sufficient to be a successful runner at the next level. As far as power, for a guy who is on the smaller side, he does well. He isn’t going to make his one holes but he is powerful enough to gain an extra yard or two if the contact is off center. I would like to see him add 15 or so pounds if he is to stay at the running back position.
What’s in store: In Nealy’s signing day video, Iowa State assistant coach Shane Burnham said that he will start his career at running back. I think we all know that there is already a large fight for playing time at that position. I think Nealy is too talented to keep off of the field, though. I would think he will find time on the field whether it be on special teams or as a slot type receiver. Though he will start as a running back, I think in the near future we will see him be a utility type of player. Nealy’s skill set is one where he can line up at any of the receiver spots or at the running back spot. My hope is that we see him in a Percy Harvin type of role where he is put in motion a lot and used in many ways. There is also a small possibility he ends up on defense. In high school, Nealy played a little linebacker and was recruited as a defensive back by a lot of the larger schools recruiting him. It’s a possibility, as I said, but with two corners who I think will be very good coming as well as a lot of youth already at safety, I don’t see him moving over there.
He looks to me like: Alexander Robinson, actually. Similar size. I wouldn’t call either one great at any one aspect of the game but they are both very well rounded. We saw A-Rob catch a lot of balls out of the backfield. Had we had a little more experienced depth at the position, we may have seen him split out more. In Nealy’s case, he will have that depth in front of him and the staff will be flexible enough to put him out there and still have a running option.