JUCO speedster could follow family to Lincoln

Speed. Pure speed. It's one of the few things you can't coach and it's most certainly one of the things you can't replace. City College of San Francisco wide receiver Kenny O'Neal knows all too well. He's got that speed, the kind that leaves defenses in the dust. And there's a chance he could be taking those impressive wheels to Lincoln.

If Kenny O'Neal ended up a Husker, there would no doubt be some story done on how a former 100 meter champ at Skyline High in Oakland ended up at Florida State, only to end up at Nebraska via the City College of San Francisco.

Sounds compelling to be sure, but when Kenny thinks of his brief time with Florida State and why he would leave there to head to the junior college ranks, it wasn't as dramatic as it might seem. "It just didn't fit me," O'Neal said about the Noles. "You go in thinking it's going to be one way and it's something else. So, for me, the best decision was to leave."

Leaving for junior college from a major Division 1-A school might seem to be a monumental step back. Of course, for Husker fans, they have only to look at current starting QB for the big red, Zac Taylor, to know that it isn't necessarily the worst way to go.

From a change in offensive philosophy at Wake Forest, Taylor made the move to Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas. In his second year he was amongst the elite in the Jayhawk Conference, leading Butler to the national title game, throwing for over 3,000 yards, eventually landing in the land of the big red.

Since his time with Nebraska, he's broken a slew of records, including the single season touchdown mark (20) held by Vince Ferragamo and the career yardage record (5,034) held by Dave Humm.

Taylor has company, though, not the only JUCO player to make the route to Division 1-A, starting from another 1-A school. Current starting cornerback Andre Jones spent a short time at Louisville before he transferred to Fresno Community College, ultimately ending up a Husker.

What Taylor brought to the table was a headiness and maturity beyond his years. What Andre Jones brings is just the raw athleticism for the game. What O'Neal brings to the game is the one thing that offenses drool over and defenses fear. It's the one thing that they know can kill them if they aren't careful.


You want speed, O'Neal has it. Running a 10.29 100, O'Neal has reportedly one of the top 10 times in that event ever ran in the state of California at the prep level. It's one of those things, that if in the hands of someone that knows how to use it, all you as a defense can do is hold on for dear life.

It's obviously what O'Neal believes to be one of his big strengths. "It's what I do. Teams play me way off, because they know that if they go "man" on me, that could up being a bad thing," he said.

Kenny can recall off the top of his head how many times he's seen man coverage against the opponents he's faced. He said that this year he's only really seen it once. Against Chabot, Kenny goes to the line, sees the one-on-one and knows what's about to happen.

About 10 seconds later, O'Neal is in the end zone, scoring from 72 yards out.

It hasn't always been that easy. Point of fact, when you have his kind of wheels, teams are usually going to try and take that speed away. Playing off the line, utilizing the double team, O'Neal said he's seen it all as far as how defenses are trying to stop him. However, that hasn't stopped him from leading the team in receptions (48), Yards (707) and total yards per game (78.56). "I see all kinds of stuff at the line of scrimmage, but they don't play me one-on-one much," Kenny said. "I see bump-n-run, I know what I am going to do."

Kenny says that the defense knows what he's going to do too, but that's only after he tells the DB just what's going to happen. "That's just part of my game," Kenny said of his verbal exchanges with the players who are covering him. "You get them thinking about what I am saying, they don't think about what I am doing and that's when I bust them for a big gain."

Ok, so we have established that O'Neal as a weapon, and a lethal one at that. Not hard to figure why Florida State went all the way to the west coast to get him. It says something for a young man, when a state, already surrounded by some of the best preps in the land, would go clear across the country to get him.

The question now is: Who is going to get him the second time around?

As you would imagine, there are plenty of teams trying to get the 6 foot, 195 pound jet. USC has gotten involved, as well as Tennessee and Minnesota, the Vols and Gophers having already extended offers. Nebraska has also thrown their hat into the ring with a scholarship to the San Fran standout.

What those schools above don't have, though, is the apparent inside track on another factor in O'Neal figuring out where he wants to go:

His brother

Out of McClymonds High in Oakland, brother Kyler O'Neal is quickly making a name for himself as one of the most athletic linebackers on the west coast Running a reported 10.6/100 meter, this O'Neal has some wheels of his own. From the latest story on O'Neal, done by Big Red Report's own Bryan Munson, you also know that the younger O'Neal is liking the big red. Kenny knew that, though, even before the story was released.

"Yeah, I think Nebraska is his top school," he said. "I know he's visiting there and I will probably make it when he goes."

To me that sounds like a package deal. To you the reader, that probably sounds like a package deal. To Kenny, though, he isn't saying that it is, but his feelings toward the future make you think that the obvious is actually true. "I want to play with my little brother," Kenny said. "I don't know a lot about Nebraska outside of their offense, which spreads the ball around a lot. That's obviously something I like to see."

Kenny did say that Tennessee was the first school to offer him and that he'll more than likely make a visit there before it's all said and done. And with his graduating not happening until May, he knows that he has some time to figure it all out.

"There's no real big hurry, because I have the time to see what kind of place fits me the best," he said. "I'll make my trips and see how I feel. I just want to go to a place that feels kind of family more than it does just some place to go play football. It will obviously help if I have my little brother there. That will make it seem more like home."

Kyler and more than likely Kenny as well, are scheduled to visit Nebraska on the 8th of December.

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