Kerry Neal has the prototypical build for a 3-4 OLB. Originally recruited to play that position by Weis & Co., he was switched to a rush DE in Tenuta's blitz happy (yet highly ineffective) defense last year. Often being outweighed by opposing OT by 50+ pounds, Neal struggled playing out of his natural position.
In training camp, he has battled with returning starter Brian Smith and uber-athlete Steve Filer for the starting gig outside opposite Darius Flemming. When the dust settled, Neal emerged victorious. While all three will see plenty of action in what promises to be a heavy rotation, Neal should see the majority of time early in the year.
There is a lot that is required of the "dog" linebacker in Bob Diaco's system. On one play they may have to fill a hole to stop the run, and the next drop into coverage on the tight end or slot receiver. Look for Neal to improve on the 25 total tackles a year ago and be in the middle of some of the big Irish defensive plays throughout the year.