April 29, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. - Former UCF cornerback Johnell Neal (Baton Rouge, La.) will try and add his name to the ever-growing list of UCF alumni in the NFL as the inspirational Knight has accepted a tryout offer from the Detroit Lions. Neal will leave for Detroit on Thursday in hopes of landing a free agent contract.
Neal would become the fifth member of his very small, 12-member senior class to earn a spot in an NFL training camp, joining Joe Burnett (Eustis, Fla.), a fifth round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and three Knights, Patrick Brown (St. Charles, Ill.), Sha'reff Rashad (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Jason Venson (Marietta, Ga.) who intend to sign free agent contracts in the coming days with the Carolina Panthers, New York Giants and Cleveland Browns, respectively.
Last year UCF led Conference USA with 15 alumni making active NFL rosters, including four who suited up for the Lions (Daunte Culpepper, Travis Fisher, Michael Gaines and Kevin Smith). UCF was one of just 11 colleges in the nation last year to have at least four alumni on a single NFL team, joining the likes of Auburn, Colorado State, Florida, Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Texas in that regard.
A few notes on the NFL Draft from the UCF perspective:
* Only the University of Florida had more players selected of any other school in the state of Florida. Last year, UCF tied Florida State and Miami for the most in Florida. Over the last two years, only the Gators have had more players drafted than the Knights amongst Floridian schools.
MOST PLAYERS SELECTED IN NFL DRAFT 2008-09
Florida St., 4
Florida A&M, 0
* Since joining C-USA for the 2005 season, UCF is tied for the most players drafted of any team in the league with its six, matching UTEP.
* UCF and East Carolina share the distinction of being the lone C-USA schools with least one player drafted in each of the past four seasons.
* The Knights have now had a player selected in the NFL Draft for a school-record four consecutive years.
* Overall, the Knights have had a player selected in seven of the last eight NFL Drafts. UCF is one of five schools from non-automatically qualifying BCS Conferences which can make this claim, joining BYU, Fresno State, Hawaii and San Diego State.
To see the next wave of future NFL superstars come through Bright House Networks Stadium, get your 2009 UCF football season tickets today! Ticket information is available either online at UCFAthletics.com or by calling (407) 823-1000.
For the latest news on the Knights, log on to UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.