NFL DraftProspect Interviews

NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Rickey Neal Jr, LB, University of Northern Iowa

Rickey Neal Jr. is a force off the edge for the Panthers of Northern Iowa. He recently interviewed with NFL Draft Diamonds talking about the NFL Draft and his journey

•   Name: Rickey Neal Jr

       • Height: 6’2

       • Weight: 240

       • Position: Edge, OLB, MLB

       • College: University of Northern Iowa

Tell us about your hometown, and what you love most about it?

       • Racine, Wisconsin – Is a city full of talent and the best thing about it is my family and church. They are the ones who raised me and is responsible for this fine man I have become

List these three in order of importance and why:

1.Practice- It is important that we know the game plan and what the coaches want and what technique they believe will be best to do the job. I learn more in practice with reps I get better.

2.Film Study- I must know the opponent and and I must know technique that work best to beat their technique. More for individual study and overall scheme.

3. Strength and Conditioning- Must be strong and flexible enough to prevent injuries. Must be able to go more than four quarters and outlast opponent by sheer will strength and conditioning.  

What do you worry about, and why?

       • I don’t give time to worrying. The reason is that each day that I live and breath I have the opportunity to grow. Tbh I trust in God and if there are problems in life I fall back on him so I don’t worry. My job is to be a light to this world not the shade.

Give me an example of when you failed at something. How did you react and how did you overcome failure?

  • My freshman through junior year of college I wanted to be an All American. I didn’t make it my freshman year because I didn’t have a primary position and played mostly special teams. During that summer of training I wrote down the top 30 All Americans In FBC and FBS and Average them out to See what it statistics I would need to put up to be considered for the award. My sophomore year I failed again so I wrote out more goals and actions plans that would help me put up the statistics I needed to for the team and myself. I learned new techniques and became physically conditioned better. I’ve watched a ton of film since my freshman year around 200 clips a day freshmen through sophomore year.  I know that because it was part of an action plan that I had to be great. Junior year I still fail short because the conference didnt recognize me but my senior year I kept working and adding new techniques to my game and teaching my teammates as much as I knew to help us win a national championship. I didn’t win a national championship but I know that I respond by being a champion every single day because is a lifestyle. I respond by not giving up, always willing to learn and most importantly staying humble. I am very selfless and I hard working and a great emotional leader.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

       • My practice efforts and how positive I am and helpful. My character off the field as being a “real” individual.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?

       • I went against many great people with talent but I don’t remember their names because they were just another obstacle that I had to overcome. I was not thinking about their big names. Names and titles is for the politics. I play the game for the love of the game.

What would your career be if you couldn’t play football?

       • I have many talents. I play the piano, drums, guitar,bass and saxophone. I have been in professional chorials and have recorded professionally. I am also really good with communication so I would be a salesman.

Room, desk, and car – which do you clean first?

       • Room- shouldn’t sleep in a mess, it jumbles your mind.

Desk, just because it’s inside i’d clean this before the car

Car-  take care of your care and it will take care of you.

If there was a disaster and you could either save three strangers or one family member, which would you choose and why?

       • The power of life and death do not lie in my hands. I am not a murderer and I am not a healer. Fate decides who lives and die. I just hope that whoever dies is prepared for the after life.

If you could be any television or movie character, who would you be and why?

       • I’d be Naruto Uzumaki from the hit show anime Naruto.  The village was against Naruto because of what he was birth with. No one respected him and he didn’t have a home. He never gave up and he always kept his word because that was his ninja way. His most powerful move was called talk no Jutsu and with this he spoke words of wisdom and positive to the most hateful characters in the show and eventually changed their path of life.

Tell me about your biggest adversity in life and how you’ve dealt with or overcome it?

       • I believe that I am my biggest enemy and I overcome that by being a better me which involves positive thinking and reinforcement. Shield my ears, eyes, so I’m not thinking or seeing the wrong things. Emotionally I keep a small circle of people I really trust but I love everyone despite what they do to me and others. I don’t go out for parties and I do not seek campaigns to keep me busy at night.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

       • My 2017 film against Iowa state. I played a very bad game in front of a lot of people.

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

       • Block field goal against big 10 iowa play to give our team momentum going into halftime break.

What song best describes your work ethic?

       • Strong finish by Jonathan Nelson

What is the most important trait you can have (Physical or Non-Physical) to help you succeed at the next level?

       • My perseverance. This word is not for a season but for a lifetime.  

If you could bring one person back from the dead for one day, who would it be and why?

       • I would say, Jesus, because but he rose. Therefore I’d bring back no one. Let the dead stay dead I don’t mess with that stuff.

If you were to open a dance club, what would you name it?

       • I wouldn’t open up a dance club id be investing in non profits and business that people actually need to survive.

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

       • Respected because it comes with honor and pride

What player who had his career derailed by off-field issues do you feel for the most and why?

       • Peyton manning career wasn’t really detailed but his neck injury was really tough to overcome and I model my game after him when I played QB

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

       • I hate to lose.

Who has been the biggest influence on your life and explain why?

  • My mother, because she set the example on how to work with what you’re giving and produce more

Damond Talbot

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at

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