Don’t underestimate Isaiah Neyor’s potency on intermediate routes

Isaiah Neyor, Texas Football Mandatory Credit: Aaron E. Martinez-USA TODAY NETWORK
Isaiah Neyor, Texas Football Mandatory Credit: Aaron E. Martinez-USA TODAY NETWORK /

We are now a little more than one week away from the start of fall camp for head coach Steve Sarkisian and the Texas football program. Texas is set to begin fall camp on Aug. 4, which gets up and running a little less than one month from the regular season opener on Sep. 3 at home against Louisiana-Monroe.

Sark and the Longhorns are gearing up for a 2022 season which could have a lot of promise in the Big 12. Texas has the makings of one of the more improved teams in the Big 12 in terms of the potential for an uptick in the win column year-over-year.

One of the reasons for the optimism for the Longhorns this fall is the strength of the offense, especially at the skill position. Sark and the Longhorns staff really loaded up on skill position and offensive line talent this offseason by way of the 2022 recruiting class and the NCAA Transfer Portal.

And two of the biggest additions for the Longhorns by way of the transfer portal at the skill positions this offseason were redshirt freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers and redshirt sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Neyor.

The duo of Ewers and Neyor has the potential to help Texas become a more prominent contender in the Big 12 this fall, especially when you add in the presence of other stars such as junior running back Bijan Robinson and sophomore wide receiver Xavier Worthy.

Moreover, I firmly believe that Neyor will be an immediate impact player for this Texas offense this fall. It’s hard to overstate how important it could be for the Longhorns to have to real NFL-caliber talents at the wide receiver position this fall. Pair that with Bijan and Ewers, and this offense has the potential to be one of the best in the FBS in 2022.

What Neyor, in particular, brings to the table for the Longhorns is a lengthy and gifted 6-foot-3 and 220-pound outside receiver that can be a deep threat and go up and get those contested 50/50 balls on the sidelines often.

New Texas football WR Isaiah Neyor will be great on intermediate routes this fall

But Neyor is more than just a deep threat that can also be effective in bringing down those tough 50/50 balls. He is more dynamic than that, which is evident when you dive into the numbers Neyor posted last season with the Wyoming Cowboys in the Mountain West.

One particular area of Neyor’s game that doesn’t get highlighted enough is his effectiveness on intermediate routes.

When most people think of Neyor, they think of the damage he can do on deep routes thanks to his great flat-out speed and how he can beat opposing defenders on 50/50 balls. Most people don’t think about him running corner, glance, post, etc. routes, burning opposing DBs in the middle of the field.

But he’s certainly more than capable enough of doing damage in the passing game on intermediate routes.

Last season at Wyoming, Neyor registered 13 catches for 308 receiving yards (23.7 yards per catch) and four receiving touchdowns. Neyor also tied for fourth among eligible FBS wideouts in PFF receiving grade on intermediate routes last season.

There are some even more detailed metrics that show just how much damage Neyor can do on intermediate routes. Of his 308 receiving yards on intermediate targets last season, 129 came after the catch. He ranked second in the FBS among eligible wideouts last season with a whopping 9.9 yards after the catch per reception.

These numbers provide evidence that Neyor is productive and efficient on intermediate targets in the passing game, despite how he usually profiles in the media.

On film, you can see that quick first step that Neyor has that, when combined with his elusiveness in the open field, is absolutely lethal. That translates effectively when he’s tasked to run corner and outside break routes since he’s able to use his large frame and quickness in space to create a lot of separation from his defender.

That separation also often translates into home-run plays that Neyor can generate in the passing game. In fact, Neyor was also to come up with at least one explosive play in all but one of the games he played in last season. The only wideout to do that in a full body of work last season for the Longhorns was Worthy.

Furthermore, it’s clear that Neyor will be an impact player for this Texas offense in a number of ways. And his effectiveness on corner and out routes between 10 and 20 yards last season proves that he should be considered more than just a deep threat that can also go up and get those contested 50/50 balls on the sidelines.

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Texas finished up last season with a record of 5-7 (3-6 Big 12), missing out on bowl season for the first time since 2016. Neyor and the Longhorns will face a difficult non-conference slate to open up the 2022 regular season, including battles with the Alabama Crimson Tide and UTSA Roadrunners after opening things up on Sep. 3 against ULM.