As the final minutes of the Orange-White Scrimmage played out on Saturday, two future Longhorns migrated over to a golf cart parked in the south end zone that UT legend Earl Campbell was seated in.
Their time to start their own legacy at Texas is about to commence and McNeal, for one, could not be more excited.
He’ll graduate from Mesquite (Texas) Poteet on May 30 and move down to begin his Longhorns career two days later.
Saturday’s scrimmage, which, by and large, featured less-than-stellar receiver play, was a reminder that he and the other highly touted WRs coming in will have a chance to contribute right away.
“I really saw everything that I needed to see in the first half, just looking at the receiver core and see what I needed to work on myself, and see what the other receivers needed to work on,” McNeal said. “I saw some things I need to brush up on before the season starts.”
McNeal came away much more impressed with the QB play than what the 2014 scrimmage produced. He saw things he liked in both quarterbacks, and really loved what Jerrod Heard brought to the game with his mobility.
“Both were going to make some mistakes but I was focused on after they made those mistakes, what were they doing? Where they staying positive? I could actually see them talking about what they needed to do the next time,” he said. “They did really good.”
McNeal feels like the excitement level surrounding the program is on the rise, more so than last year, in large part because of the shift to more of an up-tempo offense.
“Because in the offense that I come from we played in was really fast,” he said. “Just seeing that and being able to continue that here, it’s going to be a real good thing.”
And having someone like Jay Norvell mold him into the receiver he wants to become is an exciting thing for him to envision.
“Beautiful,” McNeal said when asked how his relationship with Norvell is. “It just keeps growing, and growing, and growing. He recruited me over at Oklahoma so we aren’t strangers to each other. He’s real. He tells me what I need to do and that’s exactly what I do.”
McNeal said he’s been working religiously to stay on top of the workout plan UT strength and conditioning coach Pat Moorer has given him.
“Running routes, staying on top of my routes, eating the correct way,” he said. “I’m a big dude for a receiver. Just maintaining my weight and keeping my speed is big for me.”
In addition to paying close attention to his position group, McNeal also devoted much of his attention to how his good friend and high school teammate Malik Jefferson was doing.
He described getting to see Jefferson out there as an “awesome” experience and can’t wait to join him.
“It was good seeing him out here forcing fumbles,” McNeal said. “He made every single play and that’s what we both want as freshmen. We want to start.”
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