Emanuel "Big Mac" McNeil
McNeil is one of the most popular and honored players in UT Martin football history. He helped lead the ’88 Pacers to the Gulf South Conference championship and a trip to the NCAA Division II national quarterfinals, playing all the defensive line positions during his career.
He was named the Football Gazette’s Defensive National Player of the Year and was a first-team Associated Press All-American his senior season. McNeil was a finalist for the Harlon Hill Award, an honor which goes annually to the top player. He was twice All-Gulf South Conference and was named by the league’s coaches as Defensive Player of the Year. McNeil was also named to the GSC All-Decade team for the 1980’s. He led the team in sacks for three straight years and in total tackles his junior and senior seasons. He was named regional player of the week six times in his career, GSC player of the week twice and national player of the week once during his tenure. His teammates elected him as a captain both his junior and senior year.
A 10th round draft selection of the New England Patriots, he also played with the New York Jets and Winnipeg Blue Bombers before suffering a career ending knee injury in 1992.