AAC Championship Football

Tre Neal celebrates after intercepting a Memphis pass for Central Florida to end the American Athletic Conference championship game Dec. 2 in Orlando, Fla.

Nebraska isn't done adding to its secondary just yet.

Central Florida safety Tre Neal announced his intention to transfer to NU and play for the Huskers this fall as a graduate transfer on Friday afternoon.

Neal played 38 games in three seasons with the Knights and started all 13 games on UCF's undefeated team in 2017.

"I'm excited for the Next Chapter of my career at the University of Nebraska," Neal wrote on Twitter when he announced the move. "I hope I can just be a small building block of getting this program back to the greatness it once achieved. I'm just ready to work!!"

A source with knowledge of the situation said Neal should finish classes in Orlando this month and, as long as he graduates, will enroll in graduate school and join the football program here in August.

Neal is listed at 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds on the Knights' website. He finished fourth on the team with 68 tackles in 2017, and finished with three interceptions and five pass breakups. He has 144 career tackles. 

On Oct. 14, he returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown against East Carolina. He clinched a 62-55 American Athletic Conference championship game win against South Florida with a game-ending interception in double overtime on Dec. 2. Then, in a Peach Bowl win against Auburn, he had seven tackles, a fumble recovery that he returned 36 yards, and a pass breakup.

Neal is an Atlanta native and starred at Buford High. He was recruited to UCF by now-Husker tight ends coach Sean Beckton. 

"I learned how to handle myself like an adult through the countless people who have impacted my life at UCF," Neal wrote. "Thank you to all the coaches, players, teachers, classmates and advisors for everything you guys did. It was an honor to don the UCF emblem on my jersey and on my helmet for 4 years."

He will join a secondary that has plenty of question marks. Senior safeties Aaron Williams and Antonio Reed played extensively in 2017, but Williams has battled injuries throughout his career and Reed has never been a full-time starter.

Among other returners, junior Avery Anderson has been a career reserve and sophomore JoJo Domann has battled knee injuries for nearly two years, while sophomore Marquel Dismuke was a part-time player last fall.

The Huskers added junior-college sophomore Deontai Williams this winter and are high on incoming freshmen C.J. Smith and Cam Jones.

The day Neal steps on campus, though, he will be the Husker defender most experienced and most familiar with both secondary coach Travis Fisher and defensive coordinator Erik Chinander. 

Neal's addition would put the Huskers at 83 scholarship players. 

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.


Sports writer

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

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