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Former Texas WR DeAndre McNeal to play defense for SMU

The winding collegiate journey of Malik Jefferson’s close friend and high school teammate has brought him back to the Metroplex.

NCAA Football: Florida Atlantic at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

A little less than three years after the Texas Longhorns career of DeAndre McNeal ended due to a suspension for a violation of team rules, the former Mesquite Poteet standout is back in the Lone Star State with the SMU Mustangs for his final season of college football.

And that season will be spent on the defensive side of the ball, according to a report from 247Sports this week. At 6’1 and 236 pounds, he’s expected to play outside linebacker for head coach Sonny Dykes.

After leaving Austin, McNeal transferred to Fullerton College in California, where he performed well enough to draw the interest of head coach Lane Kiffin at Florida Atlantic. Despite some attention from UCLA, McNeal headed to the Sunshine State and immediately showed the potential that made him a consensus four-star prospect and the No. 19 athlete nationally, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. He caught 23 passes for 317 yards and a touchdown that season.

However, the expected production wasn’t there for McNeal as a junior, in part because of injuries. As a result, he decided to transfer back home to Texas and found a landing spot at SMU.

Now he’ll have one last chance to make an impact in college football, this time on defense.