The hits just keep coming for Fighting Illini Football. Just a day after six players announced their departure, linebacker T.J. Neal told the News-Gazette's Bob Asmussen that he plans to do the same. Neal, a two-year starter, was second on the team in tackles last season (109) and he'll be eligible to play immediately for another program.
2-year starter T.J. Neal (245 career tackles) leaving #Illini, per @BobAsmussen. https://t.co/XWmIVI5wcx pic.twitter.com/Z7a8P91EL2— IlliniHQ (@IlliniHQ) January 26, 2016
Based on the tone of Bill Cubit's quotes in the above article you can tell that he's, well, not exactly pleased with this latest development. But that's understandable because is a huge loss for Illinois. Huge. Neal's departure means the Illini will be without six of their top seven returning tacklers, and the team doesn't exactly have linebacker depth to deal with this, either.
So with Neal gone, I'd project spring 2-deep at LB : - MLB: Tre Watson - WLB: James Crawford - SLB: Mike Svetina? Julian Jones if on team— Jeremy Werner (@JWernerScout) January 26, 2016
UPDATE (11:15 am)
According to Bill Cubit, T.J. Neal will be blocked from transferring to any school on Illinois' 2016 schedule.
Just talked to Bill Cubit. He said T.J. Neal is blocked from transferring to any program the #illini play in 2016.— Jeremy Werner (@JWernerScout) January 26, 2016
UPDATE (12:50 pm)
Here's a statement that T.J. Neal issued from his Twitter account. It's the exact same as what B.J. Bello shared when he announced his transfer yesterday.
Moving Forward!Life is fill with Ups and downs.With no explanations why things occur but God plan is the best plan pic.twitter.com/GIw3s4fqfY— Tyrone Neal Jr (@Tneal52) January 26, 2016