Late Friday evening, AAC Championship game hero Tre Neal announced that he would be leaving the UCF Knights program.
He will instead choose to play his final collegiate season as a graduate transfer at Nebraska.
The move will reunite Neal with his former head coach Scott Frost and the entire defensive staff he played under at UCF.
“I’m excited for the next chapter of my career at the University of Nebraska,” said Neal on Twitter.
The reaction from Knights fans on social media was mostly positive, with many fans wishing Neal well as he makes his way to Lincoln.
What this means for the team remains to be seen. He becomes the sixth starter from UCF’s defense to depart from last year’s team either via graduation, early entry to the draft and now transfer.
The move will undoubtedly put more responsibility on defensive players like Pat Jasinski and Kyle Gibson, who our staff projects as an all-conference safety for 2018.
Neal suited up in 34 career games in Orlando, recording 144 tackles and three interceptions in three seasons.
He will be eligible to play immediately at Nebraska.
The Atlanta, Georgia native started 13 games last season and clinched UCF’s double overtime win over Memphis in the AAC Championship game with an interception.
It’s been reported that Neal was practicing with the second team safeties during the spring.
While his departure will definitely impact the Knights, they have depth in the defensive backfield in Antawn Collier, who made the game clinching interception in UCF’s Peach Bowl victory, along with redshirt sophomore Richie Grant and redshirt junior Nevelle Clark.
While Neal is leaving UCF, Knights fans will always remember his interception to send UCF to its second New Year’s Day bowl game in five years.