Devin Neal must decide this offseason whether to make history with Kansas football or pursue his dreams in the NFL.
Devin Neal has established himself among the best Kansas football running backs in history. Before the bowl game this month, he sits at 3,006 career rushing yards, which is fifth on KU’s all-time list and 836 yards away from June Henley’s school record. However, he has something bigger on his mind — hearing his name called in the NFL Draft.
The hometown hero says he is ‘weighing all the options’ during this process.
“I haven’t made any decision either way. So just talking with different coaches, talking with my family, just praying about it, honestly. It’s really hard. I have everything here, too. So that’s one thing that’s really important to me and I’m super excited about it as well. So I’m definitely going to weigh the options and see what way it’s going to.”
He gave a few reasons why returning to Kansas might not be the best idea — specifically, the chance of him getting injured.
“I mean obviously there are risks with coming back, injuries, knock on wood wherever it is. There are different aspects but for me, there’s a dream in each hand. So that’s what makes it a lot more challenging and a lot more to consider. But obviously, I am weighing the pros and cons of both. As scary as it is, it is also exciting too. Sometimes we have to remember that as well. So it’s definitely cool in that aspect as well.”
However, he also is keeping in the back of his mind the fact that he could officially become the leading rusher in Jayhawk history if he returns. He says that’s one of his many dreams.
“It definitely does. Like I said, I have a dream in each hand. So one dream is obviously that and the other one’s the NFL. So that definitely weighs into my decision. And if I wanted to continue to come back and do some special too.”
He has been given fifth to seventh-round grades by most NFL analysts, with one mock draft having him selected at 83rd overall. If he was promised to be drafted by an NFL team by the third or fourth round, it’d be hard to envision a scenario where he turns that down.
Neal has until Jan. 15 to enter the NFL Draft, something he will presumably do to receive valuable feedback from scouts. However, what remains unknown is whether he will withdraw his name from the draft pool. As of today, it sounds like a true 50/50 split between returning to Kansas football or departing for the NFL.