Illinois linebacker T.J. Neal plans to transfer

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) Illinois starting linebacker T.J. Neal plans to transfer before his senior season.

Sports information director Kent Brown said Tuesday that Neal plans to leave the team after three seasons. Brown said Neal plans to transfer closer to home but there was no immediate word on his destination. The junior is from McKeeseport, Pennsylvania.

Neal was the team's second-leading tackler last season with 109 tackles. The 6-1, 235-pound Neal was a starter for two seasons.

His exit means Illinois will be without six of its top seven leading tacklers from the 2015 season and all of its starting linebackers. The team also recently lost a pair of backup linebackers when LaKeith Walls and B.J. Bellow announced plans to transfer.