It was big news for Nebraska to beat out a hard charging Jim Harbaugh and Michigan as well as Bob Stoops and Oklahoma for DaiShon Neal. And the floodgates were merely opening as Oregon, Ohio State and Texas were all showing interest. The talented defensive end has a frame D-I coaches love.
6-foot-6 and 265-pounds seems like a reasonable amount. People can carry it different obviously if it’s good or bad weight. With Neal it’s good weight and he’s actually “skinny” at that height and he still might growing.
But, what you can see by the film and considering the opposition is that Neal is quick, but not “quick-twitchy”. That’s not an insult. Few have that real quick twitch and fewer have it at Neal’s size. But what Neal has is a great combination of size and quickness right now that he will have to continue to work on as he adds weight and size.
There are many great takeaways from Neal’s film though when it comes to his potential. You have to start with the fact that while height is desired so is staying low which Neal does. On the read-option looks his way he’s patient and allows the fake to take place in front of him and is able to tackle the ball-carrier.
There is a pure discipline to the end spot that people lose. They see a guy that gets beat a lot and that player is labeled “slow”. What it might be though is getting sucked in too far. True, there might be an element of change of direction, but Neal doesn’t allow himself to get brought down too far covering the inside handoff.
The other part of that discipline and diagnosing the run away. You’d think that at 6-foot-6 and 265-pounds that just having your position would be enough. Neal shows good pursuit running the hill line from the backside and stays right on the hips of the offensive line allowing him to get there from a distance.
Where I really like Neal is his slant to the inside C-gap. You can really see the quickness side for Neal here, but it’s what he does with his feet and his shoulders too when it comes to technique. There is the phrase ‘get your body on a surfboard’ which basically means feet and shoulders perpendicular to the line of scrimmage. What this really does is make that one on one block for the offensive tackle nearly impossible particularly if he was supposed to hook out.
When you see Neal now you must see what he can be when it comes to his time at Nebraska. You have to see a guy that with his workout warrior mentality will get into Lincoln and immediately shed some bad weight and begin adding back good, lean mass. You have to see two to three years down the road in the program, strict nutritional regimen and see a guy that at 6-foot-6 and around 275-pounds or a little more moves better than he does now.
When you see that you see a great fit at the five technique in a true 4-3. Where I also see Neal playing and possibly causing a real fit is over the nose in an odd-front, nickel defense with some sort of a spinner stunt like they used the last two years with Randy Gregory similar to what they did some years ago with Adam Carriker.
Bottom line here is that while Neal was incredibly important to hold onto for Nebraska in the class of 2015 that there isn’t an immediate impact that can be forecasted by him being in Lincoln this fall. He has to develop, adjust to the speed of the game and really get his body right to have the type of career many believe that he can as a Husker.