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The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947

THE GANNON KNIGHT

The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947

THE GANNON KNIGHT

Alumni Spotlight: Tre McNeill Looks to Continue His Professional Career

Alumni+Spotlight%3A+Tre+McNeill+Looks+to+Continue+His+Professional+Career

Erie, Pa. – Professional football. It’s a faraway dream that many young football players have when they first start playing. For many of those kids, that’s exactly what professional football will remain—a dream. However, for some kids, as they move up through school, those who dream of playing the game professionally slowly becomes more of an obtainable goal.  

For Green Bay Blizzard and former Gannon University safety, Trevaughn McNeill, that dream of playing professional football has been an obtainable goal for him from the very beginning, even though he feels as if he was tricked into playing, “I was six years old coming down the stairs and my dad asked me, ‘You still want to play football son?’ We ain’t ever had a conversation concerning football. All we would do is watch it, but I was still like, ‘Yeah I still want to play.’”  

Although McNeill feels he may have been “swindled” into playing football by his father, from the moment he said yes, he knew exactly how far he wanted to take it. “I knew I wanted to pursue professional football from that moment on the stairs. I’m an extremist with everything that I do so it was like, if we’re going to do this, I want to push it for as far as I can and ring it for everything it has.” 

While the goal for McNeill has always been clear, the path to get there certainly hasn’t. Coming out of LaSalle College High School in Philadelphia, McNeill had a lot of Division I FCS interest over his years there, however, that interest began to fade due to his grades at the time, so much so that he entered his last three games of his senior year with zero college offers.  

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He eventually received his first college offer from Division II Seton Hill University, before getting a call from Gannon’s Head Coach at the time, Brad Rzyczycki. “I came up and visited and when I got to campus it was just like a genuine feel from the players and the city of Erie in general. At first, I wasn’t really impressed by it. Coming from Philly it’s like you kind of turn your nose up at it, but once I got there it really felt like somewhere I could make it mine.”  

McNeill’s time at Gannon was very mixed. As far as team success, the Golden Knights went 15-33 in McNeill’s five years (including the Covid-19 season). There were coaching changes and McNeill saw a lot of teammates and friends come and go.  

However, as far as personal success, McNeill had a standout career as a Golden Knight. In his time at Gannon, he amassed 204 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, one interception, five pass deflections, and five fumble recoveries.  

Aside from his on-field success, he also ended his time at Gannon as one of only three members of his freshman football class to graduate a Golden Knight. Looking back on his experiences, McNeill is grateful for every moment, “On the field, it was the perfect opportunity for me to show my talent against the teams that were supposed to be so much better than us. Off the field, Erie is a place where it’s what you make it. I appreciate Erie and I feel like I became a man in Erie being six hours away from home.” 

After graduating from Gannon in 2022, McNeill began to look for opportunities to continue his football career, however, those opportunities never really came.  

The lack of opportunities resulted in nearly a year-long hiatus from the game of football—a period in which McNeill had to begin to confront a very real possibility, “It was really stressful because it was like, ‘I’m coming up on the end. This is it for me.’” During the process, McNeill ran into difficulties with navigating the professional football landscape as a DII player.  

He struggled with finding an agent and adequate representation, so he took the matter into his own hands and decided to represent and promote himself. This meant that McNeill had to be the person to reach out to different teams on his own behalf—a process that can be quite daunting. “I’m sending my film to Canada. I’m sending my stuff to Germany [and] England. I’m sending it here in the States, and to any league just hoping for something to come back.”  

Through this diligence and determination, McNeill wound up receiving three callbacks from teams in the Indoor Football League (IFL), and he eventually accepted an offer to go play for the Green Bay Blizzard. 

Since joining the Blizzard in November 2022, McNeill says his experience has been both challenging and rewarding, citing the caliber of players he’s now playing with, the adjustment to being so far from home and the importance of finding the right situation to be successful in, “It’s been an uphill battle because there’s so much talent out there.  

This year I feel like I represented myself well, but I feel like I left a little bit on the table. I met a bunch of amazing people and really talented athletes that pushed me.” McNeill saw action in four games during the 2023 season and finished with 19 total tackles—ranking 6th on the team in tackles per game.  

Reflecting on the season, McNeill is grateful for the experience, “I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Although it was challenging, I feel like it was one of the most competitive football experiences that I’ve had.” 

As far as his plans for the future, McNeill is currently looking for another opportunity to get back on the field and showcase his skillset. He’s also eager to find an opportunity to get back to outdoor football, “Indoor football was fun, but it’s a different game. It’s different rules, it’s a little bit faster because the field is smaller [and] the feeling under your feet feels different so I definitely want to see what I can do getting back outside.” 

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About the Contributor
Jonathan Williams, Sports Editor
This semester’s Sports Editor for the Gannon Knight is Jonathan Williams. He is a graduate student from Bamberg, South Carolina pursuing his master's in strategic communications. He graduated with a Bachelor's in English from LaGrange College in 2021, before transferring to Gannon last fall. This will be his first time writing for a newspaper; however, he is very excited about this opportunity. Upon graduating in December, he plans to pursue a career in sports journalism. In addition to the paper, Jonathan is a member of Gannon's football team and was named a PSAC Scholar Athlete for the 22-23 school year. He is also a part of Gannon's radio station: 90.5 WERG. In his downtime, he loves to play the piano, play soccer, and spend time with friends and teammates. Thank you for all of your support with The Gannon Knight!

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