“It feels good to sign with a Division I school,” O’Neal said. “My next four years are taken care of. I can just go down there and get my degree and have good years of running track.”
O’Neal liked the fact that Southern has a very strong tradition in track and field. He is elated about joining the program and adding to their rich tradition. O’Neal chose Southern over Grambling University.
“The thing I like most about Southern is that they have a young team and they have good 400 runners,” O’Neal said. “I get to join their 4x400 team. I look forward to joining and seeing what I can do in the 400.”
Sylacauga head coach Jeff Steers believes the sky is the limit for O’Neal.
“I think it is great,” Sylacauga head track coach Jeff Steers said.” Like Coach (Matt) Griffith said it has been 10-15 years if not longer since the last track signing. Let me speak honestly, I think when Devin has specifically had coaches training with him in the 400-the sky is the limit. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Devin in the NCAA Championships one day. He just broke into the 49’s (seconds), he just started the 400 this year. I really see him at a 47 or 46 before it is over with. I am offensive line coach I know how to coach a little speed, Southern has a great track program so I think the sky is the limit.”
Steers believe that O’Neal has a good chance of winning all four events in Sectionals in a couple of weeks.
“We went undefeated this season except at Homewood,” Steers said. “The kid from Hoover ran a 47 and I think he could actually be there if I would have started him earlier in the 400. We have Sectionals coming up at Smith Station. We have one more meet here on Tuesday, which should get us ready. I would be surprises to see him win all four events at Sectionals. You have to get the hand off on the relay, but we have a shot with him going first in every event.”
O’Neal successfully defended his crown in the 100 and 200 meter runs in the Talladega County track meet. He won the 100 with a time of 11.10 and he won the 200 with a time of 22.10. O’Neal also won the 400 and the 4x100 relay. For O’Neal, this is his second time being the county champion in the 100, his third time winning the 200 and his first time winning 400-meter championship. The 6-foot-4 sprinter now has eyes set on winning a state title.
“When I went to state my 10th grade year, I expected to win state in the 200 and the 100,” O’Neal said.” This year, I want to go down there and see how fast I can run in the 400. I want to see if I can get better than a 49.”