As the saying goes… If you can play football, it doesn't matter what you do off the field. We've seen examples of this happen across the college football landscape for years now and on Tuesday we got another one as now-former Auburn defensive back Demetruce McNeal is back on the football field just under 72 hours following his dismissal from the Tigers' program for being arrested for posession of marijuina.
Second chances are awesome, its part of what makes this country great, but 72 hours after an arrest? Come one folks. There should be consequences for your actions and while you can argue playing DII football vs. playing at Auburn is punishment enough – what lesson are you really teaching a kid when he can point to the fact that no matter what happened someone was going to allow him to do what he's always wanted to do… play football?
McNeal isn't exactly heading to the best of the best though, rather he is heading to the obscurity of Division II football and the University of West Alabama. It's a shrewed move for him as a move from FBS to DII means he'll be immediately eligible to play football this season, his senior year.
Had McNeal been able to stay at Auburn, he would've been the leading returning tackler for Guz Malzahn's defense, racking up 90 tackles, 7 tackles for loss and 1 sack in 2012.
West Alabama, McNeal's new team went 9-4 last season, finishing 5-0 and winning the Gulf South Conference title and making it to the 2nd round the DII playoffs last season. So, it's not as if he's heading to a disaster of a team. In fact, it's wholly concievable McNeal will get plenty of scouting attention (just not nearly the attention the SEC provides, obviously).
It will be very interesting to follow what happens to his prospects for an NFL future now that he's down in the depths of DII. So, kids… learn your lesson from someone else – don't be the next guy in line to make the same dumb decisions. Trust me, I'd know.