There appears to be a CIAA pipeline to the Indoor Football League's Iowa Barnstormers.
The IFL announced the 2019 Most Valuable Player and Coach of the Year Awards Friday and former Elizabeth City State and CIAA standout Daquan Neal was named the league's top player.
In his first season at quarterback for the Barnstormers, Neal led the IFL in passing touchdowns and helped Iowa advance to the United Conference Championship for a third consecutive season.
Neal finished his season completing 225 of 317 passes for 2,642 yards and 59 touchdowns against just three interceptions. His 59 touchdown passes were the most in the IFL while his 2,642 passing yards were second most. Neal foun his way into the IFL record books as his 71 percent completion percentage was third-most all-time. A threat running the ball, Neal rushed for 649 yards and 24 touchdowns. Neal's 24 rushing touchdowns ranked second in the league.
Neal was named IFL Offensive Player of the Week three times during the season and was named as the First Team All-IFL QB.
During his college days, Neal spent three years playing with the ECSU Vikings including games against former Livingstone product and IFL 2018 MVP Drew Powell.
Last season, Powell, also in his first season with the team, led the Barnstormers to their first-ever United Bowl (IFL Championship) enroute to wining the award as the league's top player.
“It’s definitely inspiring seeing another player you used to play against succeed,” said Neal in an interview with whotv.com in Des Moines.
The former CIAA offensive player of the year while playing quarterback for the Blue Bears, Powell moved on to the Canadian Football League, Arena Football League and eventually the Arizona Rattlers of the IFL.
goIFL.com and whotv.com contributed to this report.