Zion Chapel senior Malachi McNeil signs with NDSCS

Published 12:51 pm Monday, April 8, 2024

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On Monday, Zion Chapel High School senior Malachi McNeil signed his letter-of-intent to play college football at North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS).

The senior offensive tackle said that even though he had never been to North Dakota, the coaching staff’s mentality is what appealed to him most.

“I really liked the school and their mentality; their way of doing things,” McNeil said. “They’ve just been the most consistent of staying in touch with me and keeping up with me and they really do seem like they have my best interest in mind. I think that was one of the biggest things for me.

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“Also, their whole idea was, ‘Come play for us and we’ll get you film and get you out somewhere else playing past here.’ I definitely like that about them. That’s definitely what I want to do, I want to continue my education and play somewhere else at a higher level.”

McNeil earned All-Messenger honors this past season after grading out at 85% with 35 pancakes and 15 knockdowns on the year. McNeil is going on to play college football despite not playing organized football until his ninth grade year. While the 6-foot-3-inch, 330-pounder doesn’t look like it now, the ZCHS coaches at the time wanted to start him out receiver.

“I had never played and really didn’t know much about football,” McNeil recalled. “When I came out to play football – I was skinny at the time – they were telling me where to go and they said to go to the right side of the field (with the receivers).

“When I got over there in the huddle they asked me what position I was playing and I said, ‘right field receiver.’ They all died laughing, that’s how much I knew about football. After they heard me say that, they told me I would be an offensive lineman.”

McNeil chose to sign with NDSCS over offers from Huntingdon College, Point University and Thiel College in Pennsylvania. McNeil even received attention from a rugby college. He said he plans to pursue a degree in education and wants to continue to be around football even after his playing days are over.

“I want to get an education and play football,” McNeil continued. “I’d like to get into special education and become a teacher and hopefully maybe coach football. I really love the sport and I want to stay in that area if I can.”