Neal Named First Community Captain

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- The Carolina Panthers have named Kerry Neal, a senior defensive end at Bunn High School (Bunn, NC), has been selected as the first 2006 Carolina Panthers Community Captain.

Neal's selection is based on his success in the classroom, where he is an honor student maintaining a 3.1 grade point average; his service to the community including working with special-needs students at Bunn High School and mentoring elementary students in the Bunn area; and his accomplishments on the football field I which has rated him as a four-star prospect and one of the Top 10 players in North Carolina. He has given a verbal scholarship commitment to attend the University of Notre Dame next fall.

"When Coach Charlie Weis was winning Super Bowls with the New England Patriots, he built his offenses with smart, hardworking, high character football players. In his attempt to build a national championship team at Notre Dame, he's recruiting the same type of players for the Fighting Irish," said Don Callahan of

One of Neal's strongest qualities is his humility. "I know it's important for me to always do what's right since many of those kids consider me a role model, not that I am worthy of this!"

He received a vigorous recommendation from the Bunn coaching and administrative staff, who nominated him for the award. Principal George Kelley stated, "I would further extend my recommendation to say Kerry is most likely the exact type of student for whom your program was conceptualized in the first place."

The Carolina Panthers Community Captain program recognizes high school football student-athletes in North and South Carolina who excel in the classroom, in the community and on the field. The program is designed to recognize outstanding young leaders and to encourage their future development as role models while they continue their personal growth in college and in their professional careers.

Beginning with Week 1 and ending with Week 10 of the Carolina Panthers regular season schedule, the team will select ten elite high school student-athletes as Community Captains. The 2006 Carolina Panthers Community Captain class will be recognized during a special on-field ceremony at the Panthers final regular season home game versus the Pittsburg Steelers on December 17th.Winners will receive an authentic Community Captain jersey and will have the opportunity to participate in select Panthers community outreach events with current Panthers players.

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