Fifth-Year Senior Linebacker T.J. Neal Has West Virginia Interest

A fifth-year senior transfer is reciprocating interest from West Virginia and will visit the Mountaineer campus in the near future.

T.J. Neal, a linebacker from Illinios, has announced his intention to transfer elsewhere as a fifth-year graduate, and West Virginia is high on his list.

Neal is planning a February trip to the Mountaineer campus, and has ties to people in the WVU program.

"I am going to West Virgina in February for a visit, and I'm very interested in them," he told "Anthony Leonard, who played there, is from my hometown, and I've known him for a long time."

Leonard was a stalwart linebacker at WVU from 2007-10 and served last year as a defensive graduate assistant. Like Neal, he hails from nearby McKeesport, PA. Both Neal and Leonard played their high school football at McKeesport.

Neal was set to be the Illini's leading returning tacker in 2016, and as a two-year starter would have been an anchor for their defense. Over his career, he has totaled 245 tackles, with 57 of those accounting for lost yardage. He was a two-year starter at Illinois and a member of the Big Ten All-Academic Team.

He did not list favorite schools at this point, but West Virginia is a very strong contender for his services. That pickup, if it occurs, would further bolster an excellent group of linebackers in the incoming recruiting class.

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