Rookie Scouting Portfolio writer Mark Schofield shares his admiration for the game of Ball State quarterback Riley Neal, one of his sleeper prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft.
Football is back. Well, college football, to be accurate, has returned. After a “Week Zero” which saw four games on the slate Labor Day Weekend has a full cornucopia of gridiron action teed up for pigskin-starved fans.
The upcoming season promises to be a very interesting one from an evaluation standpoint, particularly at the quarterback position. Unlike in year’s past, when there was a clear consensus – or at least something approaching clear consensus – on who the top quarterback prospects were heading into the season, 2018 is more of a wide-open affair. We all know about names like Drew Lock, Jarrett Stidham, Justin Herbert and Brian Lewerke. But this class is filled with lots of intriguing players and potential sleepers.
One of them is Riley Neal, Ball State’s starting quarterback. Neal is a returning junior after suffering a leg injury last year that caused him to miss all but the first three games of Ball State’s season. He started nine games as a freshman in 2015 and is expected to be fully healthy for the year ahead. When studying him this summer, one thing that stood out was his calm demeanor in the face of the blitz, a rare trait for younger quarterbacks:
Ball State's Riley Neal staring down the blitz.
Turn the volume up as I break this down: pic.twitter.com/ECFwNnxyk4
— Mark Schofield (@MarkSchofield) June 13, 2018
Neal faces a dual twist package up front coupled with blitzes off each edge. Knowing that the offense cannot get this blocked up, he does a great job of hanging in the pocket and delivering a strong, accurate throw for the completion.
Ball State kicks off their season Thursday night against Central Connecticut. In a season filled with questions at the quarterback position, Neal is definitely a player to keep an eye on as the 2018 college football campaign gets underway.
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