Quarterbacks transferring is common place in today’s college football, but normally it’s someone who got beat out for the starting job and are sitting on the bench. But for Riley Neal transferred (Graduate) from Ball State, Vanderbilt is getting someone who has started for multiple years.
Riley Neal is far from an unknown and has already been on the NFL radar for the last couple of years as he was part of the #100Days of 2019 #NFLDraft Prospects last year. Largely due to his ideal frame (6’6 225lbs) and a strong arm he has the talent that is going to get scouts attention. Neal could have easily entered the 2019 NFL Draft and based on his traits and production would have made him a draftable prospect. But instead of testing his waters and the possibility of going undrafted Neal decided to stay in college and transfer to the SEC to prove himself. But I have two big questions as Neal enters in final season at Vanderbilt.
Can Neal have Success in the SEC
When on the field what really stands out is that Neal can throw with good velocity. On his short to intermediate throws Neal has the ability to with good accuracy but can struggle as his throws get longer. A big reason for his struggles is he lacks good touch often rifling the ball on a line.
Moving up from the MAC to the SEC will be a big jump for Neal where the players are bigger and faster. If Neal threw 25 career interceptions at Ball State, how will he fare in the SEC going against the likes of Florida, Georgia and LSU? If Neal wants to increase his stock he’ll need to show that he can throw with better ball placement and make better decisions.
Can Neal Stay Healthy
Riley Neal does have a history of injuries that could really cause teams to be concern. He injured his knee in 2016, shoulder surgery before the 2017 season and was limited to 3 games during his junior year because of a “unique rare type of leg injury.” And then missed three games in 2018 with a knee injury. Teams will always be considered with his injuries and likely cause him to go later than his talent would increase. So because of this he needs to play a full season. Staying healthy is a physical conference like the SEC would really prove a lot and allow a team to take a chance on him earlier in the third day. But as we’ve seen, Neal does take longer to heal, so another year missing multiple games could land him as an undrafted free agent.