Panther Defenders Given Recognition

Two UNI Panthers who will patrol the defensive backfield in 2018 earned spots on the Missouri Valley Football Conference’s 2018 preseason defense all-league teams.

Rickey Neal Jr. was voted to first-team MVFC recognition as a linebacker. The league honor comes after Neal was also named a 2018 STATS FCS Preseason All-American.

The senior is expected to play as an outside linebacker this year for the Panthers. He made 10 starts for UNI last year as a defensive end, leading the conference in sacks with 9.5. Neal was named to the All-MVFC Second Team last year.

Xavior Williams, a defensive back, was recognized with second team preseason league honors. As a redshirt freshman in 2017, he earned two All-America status from HERO (first team) and Phil Steele (second team). Williams played in all 13 game, starting eight times and nabbing four interceptions. He had 25 solo tackles and 30 total tackles for the season.