Florida defensive back Keanu Neal has been invited to the 2016 NFL Draft in Chicago, according to NFL.com’s Rand Getlin. But Neal appears to have other plans for draft night.
Neal told SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi that he’s going to keep things low key during the draft and watch with the people closest to him.
“I think I’m going to stay in Ocala at his (Keanu’s brother Clinton Hart) gym,” Neal said. “And invite my fam, all my teachers. You know, people who helped me along the way. And just have one party there.”
Neal is currently projected as a sixth or seventh round pick and is rated as the No. 10 free safety in this class, according to CBSSports.com. Neal said it doesn’t matter where he gets drafted. He just wants a chance to prove himself in the league.
“I mean, you’re always going to say you’re a first round draft pick, I mean, that’s a blessing, that’s a blessing in its own,” Neal said. “But it’s a starting point. That’s how I look at it. You know, go first, second, third, undrafted. It’s a starting point.”
“There’s a lot of free agents that go 10 years in the league because they use it as a chip on their shoulder and they keep working. All it is is a starting point in my opinion.”
Neal could learn a thing or two from his brother, Hart, who started in NFL Europe in 2002 before joining the Philadelphia Eagles in 2003. Hart played nine years in the NFL and racked up 333 tackles during a successful career. The one thing Neal said his brother has taught him is to stay modest.
“Biggest one is staying humble,” Neal said when asked about the best advice Hart has given him. “You know everything being thrown at you, you know it’s a blessing. It’s an opportunity that everyone doesn’t get and staying humble and staying grounded, that’s his biggest thing and keeping God first.”