With the game on the line, and the clock ticking down, Tyler Junior College quarterback Vincent McNeil wouldn’t want the ball in anyone else’s hands.

“I’m a play maker,” he said. “I like to make the big plays and like to have the ball in my hands when it matters most.”

Ever since he was 7 years old he has been playing football. During his early years, he played a variety of different positions but has eventually worked to become the “puppet master” of the offense, the quarterback.

“When I first started, I played receiver,” McNeil said, “and in high school I started as a sophomore on varsity at cornerback. My junior year, I played wide receiver and quarterback then went to only quarterback my senior year.”

McNeil went to Franklin D. Roosevelt High School in Dallas where he suffered a devastating injury to his knee.

“My junior year, I injured my MCL (medial collateral ligament),” he said, “I was out for most of the season and was rehabbing (still injured) for five or six weeks.”

After recovering from his injury, he began playing quarterback for the varsity team as a senior, which is when he was scouted and recruited by the TJC football team.

Now playing for TJC, McNeil wears the number seven, which is the number he has worn his entire football career.

“I don’t wear it for any specific reason,” he said, “it was a number I chose when I was little, and it has just kind of stuck with me.”

Growing up in Dallas, McNeil was a Cowboys fan but looks up to many different pros that he one day hopes to be like.

“I like Chad Johnson (Ochocinco) and Michael Vick,” he said, “they both have a lot of talent.”

After he is done playing at TJC, he hopes to go on and play at another school. Different schools have looked at him, he said, but didn’t name any specific ones.

“I just hope to be playing somewhere after TJC,” McNeil said.

He, as well as the rest of the team, is busy preparing for the fast-approaching homecoming game against Trinity Valley Community College. This game, to him, seems like a “must win game.” There is more pressure to win the homecoming game because of all the festivities that surround it. McNeil sees the homecoming game as well as the rest of the season going very well.

“We shouldn’t lose another game,” he said. “They will be tough, but there is no reason we couldn’t win the rest of them.”

The TJC homecoming game will be played at 7 p.m. on Oct. 24 at the home of Apache Football, Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.

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