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Real Deal Devin Neal: Brick By Brick, KU Running Back Strives to Put His Hometown on the CFB Map

Credit: Kathryn Greenhill via Flickr

Hometown Roots

Lawrence native Devin Neal is perhaps the personification of the Kansas college town he grew up in. A rich, underrated personality who's strong-willed and hard-working and wants to put Lawrence on the map for more than just college basketball.

A high school 3-sport phenom with the mighty Lawrence Chesty Lions, Neal worked his way into the national spotlight as both a football and baseball player, becoming a 4-star recruit with offers from some of the best football and baseball schools in the nation. However, much to the dismay of skeptics, Devin decided to stay home for college and build both his athletic career and his local university's struggling football program into something great.

"There's nowhere else I'd rather be than right here, right now."

Neal said this in a letter written about his commitment to the Jayhawks. You can read the full letter here. Devin Neal is a born and bred Jayhawk, and he's here to ring in the new era of KU football.

The Real Deal

Neal has had a very successful career at Kansas so far. He has rushed for 1,797 yards on 338 carries (5.3 yards/carry), scored 17 rushing touchdowns, caught 28 passes for 240 yards (8.6 yards/catch), and scored 2 receiving touchdowns. In total, Neal has 2,037 yards from scrimmage with 19 touchdowns in his 2 years with Kansas football. He was a 1,000+ yard rusher last year en route to becoming one of the most integral parts of this explosive Kansas offense.

In his coming junior year, Neal has his sights set on performing even better, and leading this program to further success. On top of all the accolades though, including being on the Doak Walker and Maxwell watch lists, one common word is brought up when talking about Neal: leadership. Neal is seen by many of his peers as one of the best leaders on this team.

“I’ve always had kind of a drive to help younger guys, and never be that bully-type, seniority-type guy."

Neal mentioned this in an interview with's Matt Tait. Neal has natural-born leadership traits that have helped not only his athletic career blossom but also his career as a spokesperson and advocate for the city of Lawrence.

In the recent stadium renovations unveiling, Neal was a keynote speaker, voicing the praises of not only what these renovations will do for the football program, but for the city of Lawrence in general.

“Nearly 3 1/2 years ago I committed here because I was confident that better days are ahead. As a proud Lawrence native, I wanted to help lay the foundation for the program that was a sleeping giant...Momentum is already real, but today It went to another level. Sitting here and seeing the future of David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium and the ‘Gateway’ just gives you chills. We’re laying another brick today and it’s a major one. Brick by brick, we are changing this football program.”

Neal said this in a press conference with the Kansas City Star's Shreyas Laddha. You can read more about these stadium renovations here from Laddha and here on College Football Dawgs!

Brick by Brick...

Devin Neal is set to be one of the greatest Jayhawk football players of all time. The accolades, the skills, and the leadership speak for themselves and represent the kind of person Devin Neal is. One of Lawrence's proudest sons, Neal will look to will his hometown Jayhawks to another groundbreaking season, this time making a run towards the Big 12 title. As Neal said himself, brick by brick, this KU football program is making itself better, with Neal being one of the main bricklayers.



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