Alim McNeill won't have any lack of motivation for the upcoming 2020 college football season after being left off both the watch list for the Bednarik Award, symbolic of the nation's top defensive player, and all four of Phil Steele's All-ACC teams.
Tuesday, the NC State defensive tackle finally gained some long overdue recognition.
It comes from Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, who ranked McNeill as one of the biggest "freaks" in college football.
Feldman, who has doing those rankings since the early 2000s, defines a freak as "a guy who generates buzz inside their programs by displaying the type of rare physical abilities that wow even those folks that are used to observing gifted athletes every day."
McNeill, a 6-foot-3, 326-pound junior, earned a spot in Feldman's rankings because of his explosive strength, listed as his freakiest attribute.
Rated as the third-best returning DT in the ACC by PFF College, McNeill is poised for a breakout season after finishing second on the team with 5.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss last season.
With the graduation of NFL draft picks Larrell Murchison and James Smith-Williams, he becomes the leader on a Wolfpack defensive line that promises to be one of the team's strengths.
This is how Feldman describes him:
"Thanks to some smart evaluations and the efforts of Wolfpack strength coach Dantonio Burnette, aka Coach Thunder, State has produced a bunch of freak D-linemen of late. Meet next one, a powerhous 326-pound former four-star recruit who had 28 tackles, 7.5 TFLs and 5.5 sacks last year.
"McNeill, despite his massive size, vertical jumped 32 inches. Don't be surprised if the junior runs in the 4.9s by the time he's ready for the NFL Combine. He also benches 445 pounds and squats 640."
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