TAMPA, Fla. — Darrian McNeal quarterbacked his Armwood Hawks to Florida’s Class 6A state title game and a No. 24 national ranking in 2015, but he’s ready to change positions his senior season.
“I play wherever my team needs me,” said McNeal, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound 2017 prospect from the Seffner school located just east of Tampa. “We ran a spread option offense, something like what Oregon ran. It was fast-paced, and I was just an athlete back there.
“For my senior season, I’ll be at slot (receiver), a return specialist, and I’ll play some DB, too.”
McNeal is rated as a 3-star athlete, but he showed the sort of competitive drive to succeed at most any position during Sunday’s Sound Mind Sound Body Football Academy in Tampa.
With the heat index approaching 100 degrees on the Jefferson High School field, McNeal’s goal was to get as many repetitions as possible.
“The hardest thing today was stealing some reps,” McNeal said. “That, and the field was a little slick.”
McNeal has several offers from all over the country, but he expressed a strong curiosity for Tennessee, a school he says he has heard much about.
“I’ve heard the facilities are as good as there are in the nation, and of course I want to play for a winner,” said McNeal, who plans to take an unofficial visit to the Knoxville campus this summer.
“I know if you play wide receiver at the University of Tennessee, you’re going to the NFL.”
McNeal said his favorites as of Sunday are: Arizona, Tennessee, Iowa State, Virginia Tech, Georgia, South Florida, Central Florida and Boston College.
McNeal says he’s looking forward to playing a hybrid role as a receiver, running back and return man.
“My goal is to have 10 returns for touchdowns between kick and punt return this season,” McNeal said. “Playing quarterback last season, I didn’t get to do any returns.
“I think this season I’ll be able to showcase more of my talents.”
McNeal said his primary recruiter with the Vols is running backs coach Robert Gillespie.
Player rankings are 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.