Keanu Neal is an inspiration for any child growing up in a small town that does not have the facilities to make it in any sport. A member of the 2016 Pro Football Writers Association’s all-rookie team, he plays in the National Football League (NFL) for the Atlanta Falcons.
Neal is on his way to becoming a legendary player. He has already played a Pro Bowl appearance and was inches away from winning his first Super Bowl in his first professional campaign.
Keanu Neal Biography
Keanu Neal, named after Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves, was born in Webster, Florida on July 26, 1995, the son of Kathy Hart Neal and Clinton Neal. He is the younger brother of former NFL star Clinton Hart, who played for teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, the San Diego Chargers, and the St. Louis Rams.
Neal’s role in the NFL was a bit of a mark on him because he had a brother who made it to the league before him. Hart is 18 years older than him and followed in his footsteps. Neal attended South Sumter High School in the nearby town of Bushnell, which he had to travel eight miles by bus from his hometown. Until his second year of high school, Neal, who weighed about 206 pounds, was no match for other kids, as he would always crush his opponents with his physical presence.
The young athlete was able to grow into a very good player, as he recorded 151 tackles and 4 interceptions as a teenager. Even though his stats dropped in his senior year, as he managed 70 tackles and 4 interceptions, Neal was still considered a talent and received a scholarship to the University of Florida, where he was to play under coach Will Muschamp.
A true newcomer to the Florida Gators, Keanu Neal played all 12 games and recorded 5 tackles this season. In his second year, he started 8 of the 10 games he played, recording 45 tackles and 3 interceptions. The player showed great progress in his junior year, recording 96 tackles, 1 interception, and 2 sacks from a total of 11 games. After this season Neal decided to give up his senior year and qualify for the 2016 NFL draft.
After three years of college football, Keanu Neal was selected with the 17th overall selection of the Atlanta Falcons. The player in the safety position put on paper a fully guaranteed four-year contract worth $10.73 million, with a $6 million signature bonus. Although he suffered an injury that required surgery in the pre-season and led to him missing the first two regular-season games, the Falcons’ head coach, Dan Quinn, cited the rookie as a strong safety opening.
In his first professional game in week 3, Neal recorded 4 combined tackles and 1 pass throw when his team won. He then finished the regular season with 105 tackles (72 solos), 9 defended passes, 5 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery from 14 starts in as many games. The fairytale rookie season didn’t end there, as his team won the NFC Championship by defeating the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Divisional Round and then the Green Bay Packers in the championship game. In the Super Bowl LI, everything looked on track as the Atlanta Falcons led the New England Patriots by 19 points before losing their lead under dramatic circumstances in the fourth quarter to lose the game.
The following season, the Atlanta Falcons did not reach the same heights, although they made the playoffs. The team had set a 10-6 record and finished third in the NFC South league, but were given a wildcard spot to advance to the playoffs. A personal note: Keanu Neal recorded 116 tackles (83 solos), 6 pass shots, 1 interception, and three forced fumbles from 16 starts in as many regular-season games. In the playoffs, his team was defeated in the second game of the NFC divisional round by the Philadelphia Eagles, the eventual winner of the Super Bowl LII.
Height, Weight, and Body Statistics
Due to his size and strength, Keanu Neal plays the strong safety position and is on his way to becoming the best player in the league in this position. His height of 1.83 m (1.83 m) and his weight of 96 kg (211 pounds) provide him with the background he needs to continue being a vicious hitter who seeks to beat his opponents with unprecedented aggressiveness. His other measurements are:
Arm Length – 32 3/4 inches
Hand Size – 10 5/8 inches