When the UCF Football team returns to practice in August, safety Tre Neal won’t be with them. Neal is set to follow former Knights coach Scott Frost and his staff to Nebraska after graduating from UCF this month, per Sean Callahan of Husker Online.
The Atlanta product came up huge for the Knights in the final two games of their 13-0 season a year ago. He intercepted Riley Ferguson in double overtime to clinch the AAC Championship Game before recovering a momentum-changing fumble in the first half of the Peach Bowl win over Auburn.
Over his three seasons in Orlando, Neal totaled 82 tackles (62 solo), three interceptions, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and six passes defended. It seemed like he was going to be one of the secondary’s top returners this year, but he will instead spend his final collegiate season in Lincoln with the Cornhuskers. He isn’t the only player to follow Frost to Nebraska. Quarterback Noah Vedral, who backed up McKenzie Milton last year, transferred in January.
The Knights should have plenty of capable replacements at the safety position. Kyle Gibson, Richie Grant and Antwan Collier all saw significant playing time last year. Of course, there is the chance that new faces emerge at the position for new defensive coordinator Randy Shannon in 2018.
UCF opens up its 2018 campaign on Aug. 30 at UConn.