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Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Neal wins quickest impact poll

By Matt Fortuna

The fans have spoken, and they think Davonte Neal will be worth the wait.

With 50 percent of the 1,254 votes cast, Neal won the quickest impact poll, which asked fans which Notre Dame newcomer they thought would have the biggest impact in 2012.

Cornerback Tee Shepard finished second with 38 percent of the votes. Quarterback Gunner Kiel received 5 percent, with wide receiver Justin Ferguson receiving 4 percent and "someone else" receiving 2 percent.

It is not yet known where Neal, classified as an athlete, will play upon his arrival. He figures to factor into the return game immediately, and he can play on either side of the ball. A re-tooling secondary makes Shepard a popular choice to make an immediate impact as well. Kiel, meanwhile, steps into a crowded quarterback competition, likely hurting his chances.

Neal, of course, was the final piece of the Irish's 2012 recruiting class, announcing his intentions 20 days after national signing day on Feb. 21. As his prep career and this poll prove, he was last but certainly not least.