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15 DAYS TO 2019 KICKOFF: Walter Neil Jr.

In which BracketCat counts down the 15th day until the 2019 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State defensive back Walter Neil Jr.

#15 Walter Neil Jr.
Walter Neil Jr. (15) had a breakout season in 2018, drawing eight starts as a defensive back, and will look to build on that success entering 2019.
Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Goal No. 15: LEADERSHIP. Everyone can set the example.

#15 Walter Neil Jr.

Redshirt Junior | 5-9 | 176 lbs. | Lawton, Oklahoma
Walter Neil Jr.
Walter Neil Jr.
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Defensive Back
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Starter
  • Status: Preferred Walk-On?

Walter Donnell Neil Jr. (b. July 27, 1998) is a defensive back who sneaked under the radar in the 2016 class, despite an appearance at that year’s Rivals Camp Series. He originally was listed by many services as a walk-on, but there was a scholarship available in the class.

Neil redshirted in 2016, then worked his way onto special teams and reserve duty at defensive back as a redshirt freshman. He played in 11 games in 2017 and tied for fifth on the team with five special teams tackles, all coming on kickoff coverage.

Neil also totaled three defensive stops in 2017, including a tackle for loss in the season opener against Central Arkansas.

He started eight games in 2018, finishing fifth on the team with 40 tackles to go along with two pass breakups, and set a career high with nine tackles at Oklahoma before equaling that mark at Iowa State.

Neil recorded six tackles against Mississippi State, a game that included a pass breakup, and also had another breakup against Oklahoma State. He enters 2019 as a presumptive favorite to start at one of the defensive back positions.

Neil lettered three years under head coach Brett Manning at MacArthur High School, where he helped the Highlanders to earn a combined 36-4 record in his three-year career, including a state championship in 2014.

He was named the 2015 Oklahoma District 5A-1 Defensive Back of the Year, was selected to play in the 2016 Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State Game and also was a state champion in track.