Illinois loses second-leading tackler, T.J. Neal, to graduate transfer

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The Illinois Fighting Illini had a pretty rough 2015 season. The team fired former head coach Tim Beckman just days before the beginning of the season and ended up finishing 5-7.

Bill Cubit hopes to polish off his 2016 recruiting class in the next week and hopes to have a strong first season as the full-time head coach. He will have to do so without one of his biggest veterans on the defensive side of the ball.

Cubit confirmed with the Champaign News-Gazette that second-leading tackler T.J. Neal would be transferring from school. He will be eligible to play immediately since he will graduate this semester.

“He’s graduating and he was talking about playing closer to home,” Cubit told the News-Gazette. “That’s what he’s going to do. He’s a good kid and I respect his feelings about what he wants to do. I wish him all the luck.”

He also talked with Jeremy Werner of Scout about where Neal won’t be able to play his final season.

https://twitter.com/JWernerScout/status/692032315111915520?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Neal recorded 109 tackles during the 2015 season and has been a starter for the last two seasons.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports