BY RYAN BLACK | firstname.lastname@example.org
AUBURN, Ala. — It didn’t take long for Demetruce McNeal to land on his feet.
The former Auburn safety revealed he has already found a new school after being dismissed from the Tigers on Saturday following an arrest for possession of marijuana earlier that morning. McNeal took to his personal Twitter account Tuesday to announce the news.
“I’m officially transferring to The Univ. of West Alabama to finish up my senior campaign and still keep my dreams alive,” McNeal tweeted.
McNeal was the Tigers’ leading returning tackler, as he collected 90 takedowns last season.
However, he had a string of issues prior to his dismissal, missing the final five practices of the spring for undisclosed personal reasons. The College Park, Ga., native also sat out the first 10 sessions of fall camp after developing an infection that required minor surgery.
Though he’s no longer a member of the program, the senior had kind words for the Tigers as they prepare for the 2013 season.
“I appreciate everything (A)uburn did for me and I wish my former coaches and teammates the best this year,” he tweeted. “(I)t has been fun these past 3 years.”
When reached Tuesday morning, a spokesman at West Alabama said McNeal had “not enrolled yet,” but expected it to be “sooner rather than later” given that the school’s fall semester began on Monday.
Since West Alabama is a Division II program, McNeal can play immediately. The Tigers are the defending champions of the Gulf South Conference and begin the season ranked No. 16 in the American Football Coaches Association NCAA Division II poll.
But McNeal isn’t the only ex-Auburn player settling in at a new school.
Backup tight end Ricky Parks, who was dismissed on Aug. 2 — the first day of Auburn’s fall camp — for what head coach Gus Malzahn called “a violation of team rules,” will play for Northeast Mississippi Community College this year. A spokesman at the school confirmed on Tuesday that Parks was “enrolled and attending class” at the junior college. He began Aug. 8, which marked the first day NEMCC held classes this semester.
The redshirt freshman has also been practicing with the football team, though the school hasn’t released its official 55-man roster at this time. The spokesman said that should take place “within the next few days.”
Parks was expected to contribute for the Tigers at both the tight end and H-back positions this season. He was lauded by the coaching staff during the spring for his improvements after sitting out last year.
Parks exited the spring as part of the Tigers’ two-deep depth chart, settling behind Jay Prosch at H-back for the second-team offense. The Hogansville, Ga., native played at Callaway High School, where he was a four-star prospect in the 2012 class.