ARLINGTON, Texas (KSNT)- Kansas running back Devin Neal says football is not his calling.

Neal loves football, and says he’ll continue to play for as long as he loves the game. And he loves the game, but it’s not his calling. Neal told reporters at Big 12 media day in Arlington, Texas on Wednesday that his true passion is working with kids.

“I’ve known from a young age that I love football,” Neal said. “But football’s not my calling in my opinion.”

His passion stems from his own childhood.

“I feel like I grew up at an early age too just because of my circumstances, and I don’t want kids to go through that,” Neal said.

He says kids should be able to just be kids.

“I’ve seen one too many times where kids are put through too much pressure and stress to grow up,” Neal said.

Neal says he notices his passion the most when he spends time with young ones in his family and community. He noticed a program with junior reporters at media days and it put a smile on his face.

“It got me really excited,” Neal said. “Seeing them do that is really cool to me.”

He also draws inspiration from how other athletes use their platform to make an impact on kids.

“Seeing stuff like Lebron James does with the school, that type of stuff, I feel like is my calling one day,” Neal said.

He says he likes the idea of taking intercity kids and giving them opportunities they wouldn’t normally have.

Neal is gearing up for his sophomore season at KU. As a true freshman last fall, he tallied 707 rushing yards and nine total touchdowns. He’ll be joined this season by another solid running back in Topeka, native Ky Thomas.

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