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Linebacker T.J. Neal transfers to Auburn from Illinois

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The redshirt-junior had 109 tackles last season.

Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

One of Illinois' best defensive players is officially headed to the SEC. Per his Twitter account, former Fighting Illini linebacker T.J. Neal announced that he's headed to Auburn to play for head coach Gus Malzahn. Neal, a two-year starter for the Illini, was second on the team in tackles last season (109). He'll be eligible to play immediately for the Tigers as a graduate transfer.

It has been a honor to be given a chance to play college football. For my senior year, I chose to sign with the University of Auburn. I want to thank the coaching staff at the University of Auburn for giving me this opportunity. Also, I want to thank my family, friends, and significant other for helping me through this uncomfortable time. I am excited for this next chapter in my life. I want to give God the glory for this great opportunity that he has presented me with.

Auburn Tigers. War Eagle

~ T.J. Neal

Neal appeared in a total of 38 games for Illinois, totaling 245 tackles (21.5 TFL) and 1 forced fumble. He's a nice addition for Auburn, and he'll certainly be missed in Champaign.