Maleek McNeil, a class of 2022 offensive lineman committed to Penn State, is a very large human. Still just a senior in high school, McNeil already stands at 6'7 and 340 pounds. He chose the Nittany Lions over Auburn, Pitt, and others. It's clear that he has the potential to be a dominant force along the line of scrimmage.
But we're not here to talk about Maleek McNeil, offensive lineman. No, no. We're here to talk about Maleek McNeil, running back, offensive lineman, defensive lineman, and PUNTER.
I've been writing about recruiting now for almost ten years (side note – oh my god I've been doing this for almost ten years). I don't think I've ever laughed as hard while watching a recruit's film as I did while watching this video for the first time. Naturally, there have been other great ones. Nick Bowers, Zuriah Fisher, Journey Brown, and Daniel Joseph all come to mind as great examples of football players WAY too good for the teams and leagues they were playing in.
But this one hit a little different. Just seeing a 6'7, 340-pound kid up against other, regular-sized high schoolers is funny enough, but seeing McNeil keep defenders at bay with one arm, send punt returners into a different dimension, and chase down ball carriers despite his enormous size is too good to ignore.
Honest to God, I don't know what my favorite part of the video even is.
What is a high school defender supposed to do here? How can you possibly hope to stop this kid from getting six points here?
This is like what parents do to their 3-year old child when they're playing in the backyard.
Firstly, the fact that he's the team's punter is fun enough on its own. But I'd like to travel into the mind of the punt returner here for a moment.
This kid has made a few nice moves and used his blocks well to get himself to a position where the only person in his way of the end zone is McNeil. "I can beat him to the sideline," he says to himself. "There's no way this guy is faster than me."
If you look closely, you can see him peek to his right to see if he has any other options. And instead of making the cut and giving his blocker a chance to lead him to the end zone, he chooses this fate.
If this isn't proof that high schoolers are not ready to be responsible decision-makers, I don't know what is.
Keep being awesome, Maleek.