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  Marshall University linebacker Eli Neal has never been one to fear change. Coming from Memphis, Tennessee, to Huntington was a culture shock in itself when he made the decision to pursue a football career with the Thundering Herd, but Neal prides himself in rolling with the punches. With first-year coach Charles Huff now at the helm, Neal said the move has been taken in stride as the program's philosophies shift. "The transition hasn't been as hard as most people would probably think, changing head coaches," Neal said. "For the most part, we've been a player-led team for a while. We know where we want to go as a team. Coach Huff coming in with a new energy has helped us move even farther and just made the transition a whole lot smoother."

As Neal gets set for the 2021 season, his role will also be in transition as he takes on more of a focal point within the defense. Last season, linebacker Tavante Beckett was the unequivocal leader of the defense and one of the nation's top linebackers, finishing with 90 tackles in nine games, which led him to the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year award. With Beckett now gone, Neal steps into that leadership role as a player who has to be solid on every single down. - Charleston Gazette

(DS#14 ILB) rSo/2024 ILB Eli NealMarshall
News Source: Charleston Gazette



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