Neal, a QB, started off slow as he and his offensive line adjusted to the speed of the Bearcat defense, but once they did, the route was on as Neal completed 24 of 36 passes for 280 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 INT.
During the first quarter, with the Bearcat pass rush bearing down on him, Neal showed good strength and speed to shake of would-be tacklers and avoid sacks, all the while keeping his eyes downfield.
The poise that Neal showed against the rush was probably the biggest key I took away on Friday night. Sure, Neal has a great arm. He is big (6-5, 205) and strong and makes great decisions, but his poise and his ability to move both within the pocket and also scramble and throw on the run are maybe his most surprising assets.
Neal’s top target is Riley Miller, a 6-2 WR that has solid hands and could develop into an FCS level possession receiver. Miller came away with 12 receptions for 169 yards and 2 of Neal’s 3 TD passes.
Other Players of Note
Todd, a 6-5 302 Junior, plays both left tackle and on the defensive line for the Tigers. Todd has developed very well since serving as a starter a year ago. He is a solid run stuffer, but will make his career in college as an OT. Todd did a great job against some quick and athletic defensive ends from Muncie Central and moves well. If he can continue to develop he should be a major target for the Cardinals in 2016.
Llamas is a 6-3 295 OT that is only a sophomore. He struggled early on against Central’s speed, but rebounded well and protected Neal the rest of the evening. I think Llamas has some major upside and could end up as an interior lineman at the next level in a few years.
For Central, one player really stood out in 6-2 195 DE Brent Sharp. Sharp was in the backfield often harassing Neal and ended up with at least 1 sack and narrowly missed a few more. Sharp is just a junior and needs to put on some weight and get stronger but his burst off of the edge and his athleticism are both skills that will put him on the Ball State radar.
Central also had two players to keep an eye on in Senior LB Sam Cavanaugh (6-0 200) who is a big hitter and run stuffer that could end up being a walk on possibility and also 6-0 230 Jr DE Vince Coleman, who also has some good burst off of the edge.