'Two-way Tweedie' performs on the field and in the classroom
When Neale Tweedie arrived at Texas in 2002, he had been a defensive end and offensive tackle at Allen High School.
Sitting out that season as a redshirt, Tweedie walked onto the field in 2003 as a backup left tackle and then later in his sophomore season, he found himself at defensive end.
Thus, the nickname 'Two-way Tweedie.'
That moniker also fits when you look at Tweedie as a student-athlete.
He truly is 'Two-way Tweedie,' considering his sterling performance off the field where seven times his name could be found on the UT Athletics Director’s Academic Honor Roll.
Add to that, two stints -- 2003 and 2004 -- as second-team Academic Big 12 and Neale is 'Two-way Tweedie' in a most important way and why he has been recognized as the Male Student-Athlete of the Month for November.
The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Tweedie was a semifinalist for the Draddy Trophy, which recognizes an NCAA football player for his academic success, performance on the field and exemplary community leadership.
He also is a National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Postgraduate Scholarship Award nominee.
Count Brian Davis, the assistant athletics director for academic affairs, as a big fan of Tweedie.
“He always goes about things in the right way,” Davis said. “He’s very bright and he had a plan several years ago to put himself in position to graduate in four years and play his senior season as a graduate student.
“Neale is a great kid who I don’t worry about too much.”
Davis also acknowledged Tweedie’s sense of humor and credited him with keeping the guys in line with it.
Yet another aspect of Tweedie’s personality that has helped him.
But for Tweedie, it always comes back to schoolwork.
“Academics always has been important to me,” Tweedie said. “That’s why being chosen as the male Student-Athlete of the Month is a great honor for me. Doing well in school, while playing a sport, is not easy, but it is important.
“No matter how good a player you are, you can only play for so long. You have to be ready for life after the sport you play. Having a diploma is something no one ever can take away from you.”
Tweedie just happens to have his diploma, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology last August. He currently is enrolled as a master’s student in kinesiology while he completes his football eligibility.
“You learn to budget your time well because between football and school work, you don’t have much of it,” Tweedie said. “We also get great support from the academic counselors. They are there for you, but they also expect you to do your part by going to study hall and going to class.”
Tweedie has done that part and a little bit more.
He is a regular at the Children’s Hospital of Austin, making time to visit with the young people who are patients there. Those times help Tweedie, and his teammates who do the same, keep perspective.
“All of us have been given a great opportunity to play football and to attend a great university,” Tweedie said of his UT experience. “You don’t want to waste a moment, whether it is playing or working in the classroom.
“I’m driven to do well. It’s important to me. What you get out of it is equal to what you put in it.”
For Tweedie, what he gets out of it is 200 percent.
After all, he is 'Two-way Tweedie.'