Former Brahman and Okeechobee native Evan Neal helped the Alabama Crimson Tide secure a Southeastern Conference championship victory over the Florida Gators on Dec. 10 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia
Neal is in his sophomore year. Last year, as a freshman, he earned Freshman All-America accolades from USA Today, 247Sports and ESPN.com. He was also selected to the Freshman All-SEC squad by the league coaches.
To start this season Neal was moved from his position of guard on the Alabama offensive line to right tackle, a move he said he was comfortable with and confident in his ability to perform in.
“So far the transition has been treating me well,” said Neal. “In high school tackle was my natural position, so it made the transition go much smoother for me. I have more work than needs to be done. I can get better. But overall I’ve been pleased with my performance so far.”
Neal’s performance at right tackle includes helping anchor the right side of the Alabama offensive line that blocks for the nation’s number one scoring offense. That Alabama front has surrendered just six sacks while quarterback Mac Jones has been on the field.
He was selected as one of the Crimson Tide coaching staff’s offensive players of the week for his play against Mississippi State on Oct. 31 of this year. In that game Evan helped open holes for 208 yards on the ground while the Tide threw for 291 yards and four touchdown. He helped the Tide average 6.8 yards per play and 5.2 yards per rush on 71 snaps at right tackle.
Neal and his fellow offensive linemen have been nominated as finalists for the Joe Moore Award for the 2020 season. The award is presented ever year by The Foundation for Teamwork to the top collegiate offensive line in the nation. Also nominated this year are the offensive lines for Notre Dame and Texas A&M.
“We believe the O-line position to be the one that’s most dependent on coaching, offseason development, and consistent repetition of fundamentals,” said Cole Cubelic, chairman of the Joe Moore Award voting committee. “Given the extremely challenging circumstances of pandemic football, the committee was extremely impressed by the perseverance and in-season development by all three finalists. It’s refreshing to see that there is still a commitment to physical football in the modern era, and we appreciate the efforts of the O-line coaches to preserve this fundamental aspect of the sport.”
Neal and the Crimson Tide will play again in the college football playoff national championship. Alabama is set to face Notre Dame on Jan 1 in the Rose Bowl in Arlington, Texas. The winner of that game will face either Clemson or Ohio State in the National Championship on Jan. 11.