What makes Wyoming’s Isaiah Neyor so special?
LARAMIE -- What makes Isaiah Neyor so special?
Sean Chambers' already present, bright smile somehow, someway got even wider when that very question was posed.
"He's 6-foot-4, he can run, he can jump, he can do a whole bunch of stuff," Wyoming's sophomore quarterback said about the wide receiver from Fort Worth, Texas. "His catch radius is insane. I mean, he doesn't drop stuff. A lot of things make him special. Everything you could think of makes him special."
Chambers can already envision the in-game scenario.
"It's going to be fun going out there looking at their 5-foot-10 corner and knowing he's on an island out there," he added. "I'm just going to have a huge smile letting that one go for sure."
Neyor showed glimpses of what he can bring to this Cowboys' offense last fall. The redshirt freshman snagged just eight passes in six games, but he turned those catches into 248 yards of offense. That 31-yard average would've been tops in the nation if only Neyor could've hauled in four more balls to earn an official NCAA ranking.
In his first start last October in Reno, Neyor racked up 103 yards through the air on just three catches. He finished with three more catches against Colorado State and added one against UNLV and New Mexico. Neyor was shutout in two other contests.
Why the inconsistencies?
After watching the game film, Neyor said he spotted plenty to choose from.
"I really just say just IQ and just recognizing the defenses and the coverages," he said. "Route running, you know, I could definitely improve on that."
Being smarter, he said, along with reacting quicker are two things Neyor has focused on this offseason. Improvements can always be made, he added, but gaining actual game experience in 2020 could be invaluable.
"I'm more prepared this season," Neyor said.
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Wyoming featured one of the worst passing attacks in the country during a COVID-19-shortened six-game schedule a year ago. Levi Williams, who stepped in for an injured Chambers on the fourth play from scrimmage, accounted for 877 of the Cowboys' 920 yards through the air.
UW averaged 153.3 passing yards per game. That ranked 113th out of 127 FBS teams that actually played in '20.
You think that attributed to inconsistencies for the young wide out?
Neyor said he doesn't worry about things out of his control. His goal is to be available and open no matter who is under center. To be more specific, he said his goals for 2021 include: 30 catches, 600 yards, 10 touchdowns.
Is that realistic?
Passing-game coordinator and wide receivers coach, Mike Grant, isn't ruling anything out.
"I think he can be really good," Grant said. "The sky is the limit for that young man. He's young, but he's got all the tools. The biggest thing is, he's very coachable. He's not a know-it-all who thinks he has it all down. He's still willing to be that clay that we talk about molding."
Neyor is soft-spoken and matter-of-fact. He has the 210-pound build of a mini Terrell Owens, minus the traits that earned that former All-Pro the moniker "diva."
Wyoming's cornerback duo of CJ Coldon and Azizi Hearn bring speed, strength, technique, experience and swagger to the practice field each day. Neyor said those two are the best defensive backs he has faced in his young career.
Despite facing Mountain West standouts on the outside like Nevada's Romeo Doubs, Boise State's Khalil Shakir, Colorado State's Dante Wright, and plenty of others, Coldon said Neyor is one of the best he will see, too.
"I feel like he's a league guy," Coldon said, referring to the NFL. "... We're not going to see too many receivers like him -- there are some dogs (at wide receiver in the MW) still -- but he's different, you know?"
"I think he's going to be a great player," he said of Neyor. "You guys might think I'm crazy for saying this, but he's probably one of the better receivers I've seen. I've seen a lot of receivers.
"I think he has the potential to be great."
Fellow receiver Ayden Eberhardt has had a front-row seat to Neyor's progression from a young player learning the ropes to a guy who has the potential to make big plays in a Cowboys' passing offense that is in serious need of a breakout campaign.
"He's going to be very good," Eberhardt said with a smile. "Just to see the strides he has been making, it's awesome."
Wyoming's head coach Craig Bohl said he reads all the national publications and sees all the other receivers racking up the accolades. Are they deserved? You bet. But Bohl thinks he has a pass catcher on his roster who can hang with the best of them.
Neyor just needs to prove it on Saturdays.
"I think Isaiah is a guy I see that could be an outstanding wide receiver that can give us the element we have not had," Bohl said. "... I'm excited to see what we can do with Isaiah this year, because he just began to emerge last year, and it was such a dysfunctional year. He had a really good offseason and I think he can do some special things."
Neyor, who suffered an ankle sprain early in camp, said he puts plenty of pressure on himself to perform. When the passing offense struggles the way it has since he arrived on campus in 2019, he takes it personally. He treats practice like a regular season contest. On third-down situations, Neyor said he likes to picture the road crowd roaring.
It's his job to silence them.
Hearing what his fellow teammates and coaches say about him, he said, motivates him even more.
"It means a lot," he said. "It just pushes you harder."