Alabama adds 26-year-old walk-on Marine veteran
al.com February 15, 2023
(Tribune News Service) — A 26-year-old Marine veteran walk-on tight end is among the new players listed on Alabama’s 2023 roster, which was updated on the school’s website Tuesday.
Coby McNeal, a transfer from Colorado State, will turn 27 on May 29. The redshirt sophomore is listed at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds.
The Dothan native played football, basketball and baseball at Ashford Academy and was part of the school’s final senior class before it closed in 2015.
After high school, he spent six years in the Marines as an aviation electrician and crew chief on a V-22 Osprey, he told Colorado State’s website. He was deployed in the Middle East and Australia.
“I don’t think I would have passed college if I had gone to college,” he told CSU’s website. “So, I went into the military and got myself in order. I got good order and discipline in my life. I went there and did six years in the military. It was awesome. I loved it.”
McNeal enrolled at Colorado State in January 2022 to pursue a business degree, he told the Dothan Eagle last year. His fiancée, a Chicago native and Alabama graduate whom he met in Australia, had previously lived in Denver.
McNeal told the Dothan Eagle he wanted to play football for the Rams, and waited near the entrance to Colorado State’s football stadium until he found a staff member who gave him the date for tryouts. The former high school tight end made the team as a walk-on defensive end.
“That was really difficult,” McNeal told the Dothan Eagle. “I was still in pretty good shape coming from the Marine Corps to football, but football shape is different from Marine Corps shape, that’s for sure, especially down in the trenches in the D-line.
“It was a pretty rough learning curve especially since I’m coming from not playing football in seven years to a position I’ve never played before and just getting thrown into a D-I program.”
Alabama tight ends coach Joe Cox has a connection to Colorado State, having served as the Rams’ tight ends coach from 2016-19.
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