Height/weight: 6-foot-7, 250-pounds
High school: Omaha Central (NE)
Year: True freshman
Ranked the No. 2 player in the state of Nebraska by Scout.com, Neal recorded 51 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, and five sacks, constantly facing double-teams. He also registered five quarterback hurries from his defensive end spot. Neal played tight end on offense.
Helping the Eagles make the playoffs with a 7-4 record, Neal was named first-team All-Nebraska by the Omaha World Herald and Lincoln Journal Star.
The defensive end spot appears to be one of great concern hearing into 2015, with Greg McMullen and Jack Gangwish as the starters and a slew of other guys competing for second-team reps. While Neal probably has the talent to be a pass rush specialist, he’s going to need work when it comes to run defense.
This comes down to guys like Sedrick King and Freedom Akimoladun just having more experience. Look for Neal to redshirt.
BRR projection: When you see Neal now, you have to imagine what he can be after he spends some 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, with a strict nutritional regimen, and see a guy that at 6-6 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, and similar to what they did some years ago with Adam Carriker.
How he ended up in Lincoln: Neal picked the Huskers over offers from Oregon, Iowa, Oklahoma and Michigan in the 11th hour. The Wolverines and Jim Harbaugh appeared to be the biggest threat to stealing the in-state recruit from Nebraska after Bo Pelini was fired.