It came as a surprise when former Illinois linebacker T.J. Neal transferred from the program, but it was hard to argue with his decision at the time due to the instability at every level of the university. The All-Big Ten honorable mention eventually landed with Auburn, however he recently took to Twitter to vent playing time frustrations following the Tigers’ opener against No. 2 Clemson.
While Neal ultimately apologized and deleted the tweets, you can check out screenshots at the link included below.
Auburn's T.J. Neal tweets frustration over lack of playing time #collegefootball https://t.co/uoXX12mr9R— CollegeFootballTalk (@CFTalk) September 4, 2016
Hindsight is obviously 20/20, but you gotta figure Neal is regretting his decision right about now. Neal’s departure came mere weeks prior to the Lovie Smith hire, and if he elected to stay, he likely would’ve been one of Illinois’ starting linebackers. Hopefully he’s able to adjust to his new role in due time.
Illinois Fighting Illini Links
- Illinois opens as 7-point underdog against North Carolina (TCR)
Illinois (1-0) will face North Carolina (0-1) under the lights at Memorial Stadium on September 10. Kickoff is scheduled for just after 6:30pm CT. The Orange and Blue will be looking for revenge after falling to the Tar Heels by a final score of 48-14 last season.
- Grading Illinois’ performance against Murray State (The Daily Illini)
The Daily Illini football writers graded each facet of the Illinois football team’s 52-3 win over Murray State on Saturday. The Illini offense, defense, special teams and coaching were graded.
- Behind-the-scenes game day with Lovie Smith (Illinois Athletics)
Lovie Smith and the Illini started their game day routine at Ikenberry Commons, just a few blocks from Memorial Stadium, where they had a pregame meal followed by offense, defense and special teams meetings. The team was at Ikenberry for about 90 minutes to put the finishing touches on the game plan.
- Postgame interviews from Illinois’ first victory (Illinois Athletics)
Illinois opened the 2016 season with a dominant 52-3 win over Murray State on Saturday in front of 48,644 fans at Memorial Stadium. Hear from head coach Lovie Smith after his first Fighting Illini victory, as well as RB Kendrick Foster and DB Julian Hylton.