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  • University of Florida junior safety Keanu Neal helps a teammate during fall camp- Florida Gators football- 1280x852

    Keanu Neal will make his 2015 season debut for the Florida Gators when they travel to take on Kentucky. / Gator Country photo by David Bowie

Keanu Neal declares
for the NFL Draft

Written by Nick de la Torre, January 6, 2016, 2 Comments,
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Florida Gators safety Keanu Neal has decided to forego his final year of eligibility at the University of Florida and declare for the 2016 NFL Draft.

“This was honestly the hardest decision I’ve ever made, but prayer and family support helped a lot,” the safety wrote on his personal Instagram page. “I would like to thank all the coaches, advisers, family members, and friends who have stuck by me and helped me grow as a man. It’s time to take the next step in my life and attain my dream.. something I’ve wanted since I was a little boy.”

Sources told Gator Country that Neal received a top 60 grade (first two rounds) from paperwork he submitted to the NFL Draft advisory council. That is a good grade for a safety and gave Neal a lot to think about.

Neal played in all 12 games as a true freshman in 2013. He was a key member on special teams, recording a team-high five special teams tackles, and was the backup safety. As a sophomore Neal earned a starting spot on the defense. He played in 10 games, earning eight starts. Neal was ninth on the team with 45 tackles, had three interceptions and a fumble recovery that he returned for a touchdown.

Heading into his junior season Neal once again was named a starter and he became a leader on one of the best defensive units in the country. He missed the first two games with an injury but played the rest of the season, starting every contest. His 96 tackles were third best on the team and second best among safeties in the SEC.

“Gator Nation, thank you for welcoming me and making my 3 years at UF memorable,” he continued on Instagram. “First day I stepped foot on camps, I knew I made the right decision. Nothing will ever take away the memories and bonds I have gained. I can confidently say that I’ve grown and matured a lot since my first day here, and it is due to the love and support of family, friends, and Gator Nation! I will always bleed orange and blue… Forever a Florida Gator!”

Nick de la Torre

About Nick de la Torre

A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC

  1. subtle_gatorJanuary 6, 2016, 1:04 pm

    What did you call on him and Maye again?

  2. dpritchardJanuary 8, 2016, 8:43 am

    I don’t have as much of a problem with guys leaving early as others, but I will say that I think our bowl games have become a bit of an embarrassment, in large part to guys mentally moving on to the NFL. Matt Jones and Debose last year to name a few, McGee and J. Powell this year, along with others. I know some phantom injury is always to blame, but we all know these cats just opt out of playing. If they want to move on to the NFL then so be it, but finish what you started. Fans pay a lot of $ to travel to these bowl games only to see an exhibition type of performance. I do not blame any player for leaving early to better themselves, but finish what you started or let the fan base know and we’ll all mail it in as well…from the living room.

http://www.gatorcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/University-of-Florida-junior-safety-Keanu-Neal-helps-a-teammate-during-fall-camp-Florida-Gators-fooball-1280x852-150x150.jpg Nick de la Torre FeatureFootball ,,,,
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Florida Gators safety Keanu Neal has decided to forego his final year of eligibility at the University of Florida and declare for the 2016 NFL Draft.

“This was honestly the hardest decision I’ve ever made, but prayer and family support helped a lot,” the safety wrote on his personal Instagram page. “I would like to thank all the coaches, advisers, family members, and friends who have stuck by me and helped me grow as a man. It’s time to take the next step in my life and attain my dream.. something I’ve wanted since I was a little boy.”

Sources told Gator Country that Neal received a top 60 grade (first two rounds) from paperwork he submitted to the NFL Draft advisory council. That is a good grade for a safety and gave Neal a lot to think about.

Neal played in all 12 games as a true freshman in 2013. He was a key member on special teams, recording a team-high five special teams tackles, and was the backup safety. As a sophomore Neal earned a starting spot on the defense. He played in 10 games, earning eight starts. Neal was ninth on the team with 45 tackles, had three interceptions and a fumble recovery that he returned for a touchdown.

Heading into his junior season Neal once again was named a starter and he became a leader on one of the best defensive units in the country. He missed the first two games with an injury but played the rest of the season, starting every contest. His 96 tackles were third best on the team and second best among safeties in the SEC.

“Gator Nation, thank you for welcoming me and making my 3 years at UF memorable,” he continued on Instagram. “First day I stepped foot on camps, I knew I made the right decision. Nothing will ever take away the memories and bonds I have gained. I can confidently say that I’ve grown and matured a lot since my first day here, and it is due to the love and support of family, friends, and Gator Nation! I will always bleed orange and blue… Forever a Florida Gator!”

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