Neal touts Scott's talent, NFL potential

When Dan Neal would go watch Kentucky play this season, he always ended up watching center Eric Scott. After all, Neal was UK's starting center in 1970-71 before playing 11 years (Baltimore and Chicago) and coaching 15 years in the National Football League.

"When you are watching, you do not realize he is as big as he is," Neal said. "I knew he was a good player. I knew he could play the game. But once you start evaluating all the little things he does, you realize he is very, very good."

Neal got to coach Scott last week in the Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Game last week in El Paso. Even though Scott's team lost -- mainly because of nine turnovers -- Neal knows that Scott helped himself with NFL scouts and coaches because of his play.

"Eric played well. He is such a quality person. It was a pleasure working with him and just getting to meet and know him," Neal said. "It confirmed my feelings about the whole senior class and what kind of kids they are. He is a good, classy kid who can really play good football."

Four of Scott's teammates -- quarterback Andre Woodson, linebacker Wesley Woodyard, tight end Jacob Tamme and running back Rafael Little -- played in the Senior Bowl and receiver Keenan Burton would have if he had not been hurt. Scott, though, was not mentioned often with that group when looking for reasons why UK won eight games this year.

"Centers usually get overshadowed. I can vouch for that," Neal said. "But he has a chance to play at the next level. He is a quality player. I don't know if he can step in and start, but I think somebody will be tickled to death to get him on their team. He can do some things that a normal player can't do."

Like what?

"He plays really good football, something not everybody can do," Neal said. "He can move. He gets very good leverage. He's smart. He not only gets himself in the right position, but he helps others get lined up, which is something a center has to do. He gets all his teammates in the right position.

"He is the total package. He is strong. He doesn't look 298 pounds, but he is. I played 11 years and the last year I was about 265 pounds and now that would not even get you looked at. He moves really well for 298, too. He has good hands. He has a pretty good body lean. He has it all."

Neal says he'll gladly recommend Scott to NFL scouts or coaches. He's convinced if Scott can get with the right team that he can play in the NFL.

"A lot of times there are players that do not make it because of the teams they go to. They are stacked at a certain spot and just don't have room for you. If he catches on with the right team that will give him time to develop, he could be terrific," Neal said. "I don't think he would be afraid to go in and challenge for playing time now if the opportunity was right. But I just hope he does not go to a team that has a center locked in there, has been there a long time and is going to be there a lot longer.

"Take a Tom Brady. If (Drew) Bledsoe does not get hurt, he never gets a chance to be New England's quarterback. Now he is one of the greatest quarterbacks ever, but even for him it was a matter getting an opportunity to do what he could do."

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