Alex Neutz was a Western New York High School star at Grand Island High School under coach Dean Santorio. In Neutz's high school senior season of 2008, Alex grabbed 51 catches and set a Western New York record 1,182 yards with 22 touchdowns. When you set single season records, you get rewards. Alex was awarded the James Lofton Award for top receiver in Western New York. For the second time Alex was named first-team All Western New York and in his senior season was on the NYSSWA All-State Team. Good things were also to come in the classroom as Alex was a Buffalo New All-WNY Scholar Athlete. Alex's UB liaison was Coach Brian Mohnsen but was able to meet and be coached by now living legend Juan Taylor.
Alex and Fred Lee were touted as the next one two punch like Roosevelt & Hamlin. One major problem. They did not have Drew Wily to throw them the ball. Neutz had a new starting QB every year at UB. Even without steady QB play Alex will go down as the one of the most decorated receivers to ever put on a Buffalo uniform. Having back-to-back 60+ reception and 1,000+ yard seasons, and by breaking the school record for touchdown receptions, Neutz has cemented himself firmly in the history books at UB with Haddad and Roosevelt.
Big things were expected for Alex's senior season and was living up to expectation building chemistry with Licata. Neutz was the total offense in a very one sided game against Baylor. Finished the first half with six catches for a career best 197 yards and a touchdown (albeit in a 70 -13 lose.) The season did change late September against UMASS on what was two of the worst plays for UB. UB calls a deep ball and as Neutz did what he has done throughout his whole career. He gets behind the DB and safety. The rain was coming down sideways and the ball was under thrown and like Neutz has always done, made a great adjustment to come back to the ball. Unfortunately this allowed two players to hit him just as he caught the ball. I will still say the hit was helmet to helmet and Tharpe from UMass should have been thrown out of the game. OK I will get off my soap box. Neutz's production dropped some after the hit. Before the UMASS game Neutz had catches of 9, 6, 10 and then had 2 total catches in a shorten game. After the UMASS game Neutz had total catches per game of 5, 2, 2, 3, 4, 8, 1, 6, and 3 in bowl game. Neutz did not have his best season his senior season in total catches but set career highs in yards, average, long reception, and TD's. Speaking of TD's, Alex set UB's career TD mark at 31.
Ohio coach Frank Solich had this to say about Alex.
"I think he’s a complete receiver," Ohio coach Frank Solich said. "He’s got good speed, he’s got excellent quickness, good height, excellent hands and comes out of his breaks really well. He’s been doing it now for several years in the MAC. He’s an excellent player."
Alex was invited and competed in the NFLPA Collegite Bowl in Los Angeles. See the great article by Conrad as well as the videos from the game here: NFLPA Collegiate Bowl
Many believed that Alex was a shoe in to be invited to the combine. Neutz was rated by many services as the 49th WR out of 429 WR's. Top 50 WR's invited to the draft. The invitation never came. Many believe that this draft is the best for receivers and many predicting that Alex will be an undrafted free agent. Read this great article by John on the advantages of being an undrafted free agent for Neutz: Neutz route to the NFL
I still would love to see Alex's name called in the draft and would not be shocked if that happen but unlikely. So what does Alex have to do in his Pro Day workout to turn heads and be on NFL teams radar?
What will Alex be graded on? He will be immediately measured for Height, Weight, Arm Length, & Hand Span: Neutz has the body of an outside receiver but not the jets and speed like in the NFL. Neutz is listed at 6-3 and 205. Let's see what Alex weighs in at. Neutz will not create large separation with speed alone. Neutz is a crisp route runner and has great hands. Neutz is a cross between the outside receiver and the slot receiver. The slot receivers are typically smaller with great cutting ability to create separation in tight areas and not afraid to get hit from time to time.
Arm Length: The longer the arms the better the catching radius. Neutz at 6-3 with long arms can out jump typical shorter DB's.
Hand Span: Hand size is vitally important for receivers. They need to be sure handed to be able to fight for the ball or hang on to it if they get hit. Also, big hands combined with long arms make difficult catches
40 Yard Dash: I have seen a time listed for Alex with a best time of 4.5 and high of 4.79. See the times below for the WR's at this years combine. A 4.5 time will put Alex with all the receivers. A 4.79 will be the bottom of the pack. Alex will be competing at the Pro Day against Namaan Roosevelt. Namaan's 40 time was 4.6. Alex will give his chances a big leg up besting that time.
3-Cone Drill & Short Shuttle: Scouts will be looking at Alex's ability to start, stop, and change direction. This is where the eyes can perk up with a great time. Alex needs to show he had the body and skill set to make hard, sharp, fast cuts and accelerate rapidly after the break.
Broad and Vertical Jumps: This drill is much more important for Bo to excel in but Neutz needs to show that he can out jump DB's.
The Gauntlet: Neutz will need to pick up the ball quickly and catch everything not with his body but with his hands.
Toe Tap Drill: This is where Neutz can make his bones. Catch everything thrown whether going out of bounds or over people with a solid time and teams will be calling.
Over The Shoulder Catch: Make an adjustment and catch over the shoulder? How many time did we see this at UB? Alex needs to execute.
Route Tree: The receivers need to show that they can run the routes correctly, make sharp cuts, and be decisive.
How It All Ties Together
The Combine is important for receivers. They need to show that they are athletes as well as football players. However receivers can get by on their agility and quickness. They can create separation with sharp cuts and get a step on defenders with quickness, and get yards after the catch even if they aren't speedsters. That being said, few things scare defensive coordinators like a legitimately fast receiver who can blow the top off a defense. The measurable part of the combine gives under-the-radar prospects like Neutz, who might not have been the feature of their offense or who didn't receive national attention, a chance to get scouts' attention.
Few college receivers play in pro-style offenses, so not many come into the NFL with a complete route tree. The route tree part of the wide receivers' workout gives them a chance to show that they can be NFL receivers. They also show which receivers have the ability to track the ball, the body control to adjust to it, and which ones are natural hands catchers. Alex's destiny lies in front of him. Have a great day, be yourself, do not overthink anything, and make a mark for yourself and UB. Good Luck!
|First||Last||School||Height||Weight||Hand Size||Official 40|
|John||Brown||Pittsburgh St. (KS)||5'10||179||8.1/2||4.34|
|Austin||Franklin||New Mexico State||5'11||189||10||4.56|
|Jeff||Janis||Saginaw Valley St||6'3||219||9||4.42|