McNeal put in for a hardship waiver, and the NCAA granted it to him, allowing him to transfer to Southern Methodist, just twenty minutes from his mother who is dealing with diabetes related issues.
After playing a season at SMU, his junior season, he left early to try to support his mother. McNeal was signed as an undrafted free agent by the San Diego Chargers.
Motivation is not the issue for McNeal, it is space: the Chargers have five running backs on their roster including McNeal, veteran Darren Sproles, and first-round pick Ryan Matthews. The good news for McNeal is that he is battling fellow undrafted free agents Curtis Brinkley (a one year veteran), and Marcus Mason (a three year veteran).