McNeil, a 6-4 280-pound rising senior from Collins, Miss., redshirted as a freshman in 2005, then won the first-team center job three games into the 2006 season, earning unanimous Freshman All-SEC recognition. He has started 35 consecutive games heading into his senior season.
"He's played a lot here," Kiffin conceded, "but that really doesn't matter a lot. He needs to continue to improve, so he can be our starting center."
McNeil's chief competition for the first-team center job is fellow senior Cody Sullins, a 6-1, 260-pound walk-on from Cottonwood.
"We've been putting him in there with the 1s, and he's doing really good," Kiffin said. "We've got a heck of a battle going on."