OKEECHOBEE- Former Okeechobee Brahman and current New York Giant Evan Neal returned to his hometown on June 9 to host a football camp for local youth.
Over 300 hundred people were in attendance at the camp. Neal brought a few fellow professional and college athletes to help him run the football drills, including former Brahman and Florida State Seminole Lonnie Pryor, former Pittsburgh Steeler Maurkice Pouncey, Neal’s All-Pro teammate in New York Andrew Thomas, and more.
The kids taking part in the camp were coached through football drills by the NFL-level talent, participated in a few races and a 7 on 7 tournament.
Neal was selected by the New York Giants in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. On the red carpet on draft night, Neal sported a coat with an image of Lake Okeechobee.
Before being drafted by the Giants, Neal was a key component of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team that won a national championship in 2020. Neal originally announced his decision to attend the University of Alabama at a press conference in the Okeechobee High School gym.
“Okeechobee is important to me because this is where I came up,” said Neal in an interview with Lake Okeechobee News after committing to Alabama in 2018. “I want to see everyone in Okeechobee succeed. I want to show kids here in Okeechobee that they can do the same thing I’m doing. It’s not impossible. I remember growing up here and watching college football and wondering if I would be able to do that one day. I just want to be a testament to the kids here that you can do it."
Neal played his freshman year for the Okeechobee Brahman football team before transferring to IMG Academy in Bradenton in his sophomore year. Although it wasn’t an easy decision for Neal to leave his hometown and high school football team, ultimately IMG offered the best chance at being chosen by a Division I college. Former Okeechobee head coach Chris Branham supported Neal’s decision.