FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Connor Neal enjoyed great success during his time at Fairmont Senior, including leading the Polar Bear football team to a state title in his Kennedy Award winning senior season.
After redshirting his freshman season at Fairmont State, Neal was working towards competing for the starting quarterback job when camp started this fall.
“We have a couple receivers that stayed in Fairmont, obviously. Like, Michael Nuzum and Jake (Pitman). We always try to throw when we can. We do a lot of things with boxing, and conditioning like that. Just, like, staying in shape and lifting when I can,” said Neal
However, due to COVID-19, Neal won’t be truly competing for the starting spot under center in Jason Woodman’s offense until the spring — at the earliest.
But that doesn’t mean Neal stops working.
“With classes and stuff, there’s going to be more receivers coming then. So, that’ll be more people to throw with, and more offensive guys to talk to, and get timing and things like that. We’re going to do our own thing, even if we don’t have anything just to stay ready for whatever happens,” said Neal.
The Mountain East Conference, despite postponing fall sports on Thursday, is proposing a plan that would allow fall sports teams to workout and practice together in the fall, and then compete in the spring. For football, specifically, it calls for a five-game spring season with the chance of competing for a conference championship.
Neal was one of three non-graduating quarterbacks on last year’s roster.
And he’ll be bringing in a wealth of knowledge that he learned in his freshman year under two-year starter Takwan Crews-Naylor.
“(Takwan) was, he was a great teacher. He was a redshirt senior, so he obviously knew how my position was as a redshirt freshman. He kind of showed me a lot and told me things I didn’t really know about coverages and things like that. And then kind of sitting back and watching him in games and stuff helped me get the speed, and how, like, things should really be. Because, he was a really good quarterback too.”Connor Neal on former Fairmont State quarterback Takwan Crews-Naylor
And Neal is already transferring some of the knowledge he took from Crews-Naylor to the next college-bound QB to play for the Polar Bears — Kent State commit, Gage Michael.
“I love Gage, that’s kind of like my guy. We’ve been working out together. He’s been coming and throwing with me. I’ve been helping him out. He’s getting a lot better. He’s going to be a problem for a lot of people,” said Neal.