A Checkup on Johnell Neal

CB Johnell Neal, UCF (Getty&nbspImages)

In early May, UCF cornerback Johnell Neal went home to Louisiana to celebrate his recent graduation in Criminal Justice. During his visit, Neal was shot outside his home and received wounds to his chest. Read InsideKnights.com for an update on his status.

Johnell Neal has teamed with fellow senior Joe Burnett the past several seasons to form one of the best cornerback tandems in the C-USA. Now the two will be one of the best duos in the nation, but Neal's senior year was nearly cut short due to an unfortunate incident outside of his Louisiana home.

Coach George O'Leary recently discussed Neal's status and talked about if and when he is expected to play this season.

"What happened with Johnell Neal is that he graduated, his mom flew up for the graduation and he went home for a little bit," said Coach O'Leary. "While he was home, he was ambushed and shot four times. I flew into Louisiana and saw him."

Neal was a Criminal Justice major and is currently working on his second degree, but his education and season were put on hold when he was shot outside of his house. Neal was in a high amount of pain and discomfort, but was put in stable condition.

Since, Neal has been released from the hospital and has been doing fine.

"He's been back on campus since about two weeks after it, he's going to summer school and he's working, condition and weight lifting most of the time right now," added O'Leary.

Last season, Neal logged six interceptions and has been a constant starter since his freshman year. A good season could propel Neal into a mid-round draft pick, and the injury could have been a potential setback. According to O'Leary though, Neal should be back and in tip-top shape by the time the season starts.

"He should be ready to go full till in August when we start."

O'Leary and the Knights are ready for a strong 2008 season and will look to repeat as the C-USA champs. Repeating without Neal would have proven to be somewhat difficult, but fortunately for the Knights and for Neal, he will be fully recovered from what could have been a tragic incident back in May.

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