Keanu Neal has become known for his big hits.
Neal, who was drafted out of Florida as a first-round pick in 2016, is having a breakout season at safety for the Atlanta Falcons. He has started every game this season, recording 82 tackles and two forced fumbles.
Neal sent shockwaves through social media during Week 11’s Monday Night Football win over Seattle on Nov. 20. He met 265-pound tight end Jimmy Graham right in front of the goal line, stopping Graham’s momentum and causing him to fall backwards with a ferocious hit. The play was negated by a Seahawks penalty, but was still retweeted thousands of times.
Neal, however, may have gotten a little carried away in Sunday’s win over the Buccaneers. Late in the second quarter, Neal accidentally laid a violent hit on Pro Bowl teammate Desmond Trufant. Trufant left the game with a concussion and did not return.
Janoris Jenkins had a big game in the Giants’ Thanksgiving loss to the Redskins. The 29-year old cornerback had two pass deflections and a 53-yard interception return for a touchdown, which briefly tied the game late in the third quarter.
However, Jenkins aggravated his left ankle after diving into the end zone on the play. The ankle has been bothering him for a couple months, and he could choose to undergo season-ending surgery with the Giants sitting at 2-9.
Elsewhere on the defensive side of the ball, veteran defensive end Carlos Dunlap resumed his strong 2017 campaign on Sunday. After a two-sack performance in Week 11, Dunlap recorded five tackles and half a sack in Week 12, helping Cincinnati defeat the Browns for its second win in a row.
Marcus Maye continued his solid rookie season for the New York Jets. Maye ranks third on the team with 56 tackles after recording seven in Sunday’s loss to Carolina.
It was a much quieter week for UF alumni on offense. One notable performance came from wide receiver Louis Murphy, who won two national championships with Florida during the Urban Meyer era.
Murphy, who was just signed by San Francisco earlier this month, had 48 receiving yards in his first game of the season on Nov. 12. In Sunday’s loss to Seattle, Murphy had two catches for 14 yards, and caught newly acquired quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s first touchdown pass in a 49ers uniform. It was Murphy’s first touchdown reception in since October 2014.
You can follow Sam Campisano on Twitter @samcampisano, and contact him at [email protected].