Connor Neighbors is a Fullback that just finished up his playing days at Louisiana State University. In today’s college offenses, you are not going to often notice the Fullback. Most college teams don’t even use them any more.
Auburn used a Fullback in the 2013 season on their almost magical quest for a national title. Some people think that Auburn’s slip during the 2014 season was partly because of the graduation of Fullback Jay Prosch.
The NFL still loves using a Fullback and Auburn’s Jay Prosch is now a member of the Houston Texans.
He will never get the attention, or the glory, of a JJ Watts, or any Quarterback or Running Back. But, even though Jay Prosch never saw the ball in his senior season at Auburn he was a very important part of the Auburn offensive machine.
Prosch was drafted in the 6th round by the Texans and made the roster.
Connor Neighbors is not quite the physical specimen that Jay Prosch is. Prosch is 6-1, 255 and has very little fat. He’s a guy one would describe as ripped.
Neighbors is 5-11, 230. He may not be drafted because he is not the ideal size of a Jay Prosch. But, Neighbors is a good blocker and a good receiver out of the backfield.
The LSU Tigers signed the number one ranked Running Back in the country in Leonard Fournette a year ago. He did not have the freshman year that some had predicted in the 2014 season, but he was still very, very good and finished with 1,034 yards and 10 Touchdowns.
LSU loves to use a lot of Running Backs and they are all big backs. Fournette is 6-1, 230 with excellent speed. The other Running Backs for the Tigers in 2014 were Terrence Magee who is 5-9, 220 and ran for 571 yards. I can almost guarantee a back up Running Back for the LSU Tigers will draw plenty of interest from an NFL team.
Last year’s LSU back up Running Back, Alfred Blue, also plays for the Houston Texans and ran for more yards in the NFL than his senior year of college.
LSU played 2 other Running Backs in 2014, in Kenny Hilliard and Darrel Williams. Hilliard ran for 447 yards and 6 Touchdowns and Williams toted the ball 64 times for 302 yards and 3 scores.
Magee and Hilliard were seniors and Williams was a true freshman like Fournette.
The LSU Offensive Line and Connor Neighbors opened holes for these guys.
Connor Neighbors couldn’t help but play football.
He is a third generation football player.
College and professional football is full of stories about families. The Mannings, the Matthews, the McCaffreys and so many more are part of the history of football.
The Neighbors family is not on the same level as the Mannings or the Matthews, obviously.
Connor’s Grandfather Billy Neighbors was born and raised near Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Because of the close proximity to the University of Alabama which is also located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Billy Neighbors would naturally go to school there.
Billy Neighbors was a member of legendary Alabama football coach Bear Bryant’s first recruiting class. Neighbors was also a starting Offensive Tackle on Bear Bryant’s first national championship team in 1961.
He made the 1961 All American team and also on that team were future NFL stars, Roman Gabriel, John Hadl, Merlin Olson, Ernie Davis, Lance Alworth, Nick Buoniconti, Bobby Bell and Don Talbert. Billy Neighbors was good enough at Alabama to be elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
After Billy Neighbors used up his college eligibility, he was drafted in the 4th round by the Washington Redskins in the 1962 NFL Draft. He was also picked by the Boston Patriots. That was before the Patriots moved to the suburbs and became the New England version of themselves.
Back in those years, the NFL was much smaller and there was a new football league called the AFL. They both held a draft and then got into a bidding war for the players they had picked. Later, the 2 leagues would merge and become what the NFL is today.
The bidding war between the leagues gained Neighbors an unbelievable $27,000 to sign with the Boston Patriots. Professional football players just didn’t make that much money back in those days. Some great college players even elected to give up football and take a job because of the lack of money.
Billy Neighbors was an excellent player for the Patriots starting at Offensive Guard and he was on their roster from 1962 to 1965 before ending up his Professional career with the Miami Dolphins from 1966 until 1969.
Neighbors was voted to the Patriots 1960’s All Decade team and he was All Pro twice, so he had a successful Pro career.
Billy’s brother Sidney was also a player for the Crimson Tide, but was supposedly run off by Bear Bryant for being overweight. I have no idea where Sidney Neighbors is today, but I wonder if he’s an Auburn fan.
Billy Neighbors remained a Tide fan, but he must have learned to like the LSU Tigers since his grandson played there.
Sadly, Billy Neighbors passed away in 2012 at the age of 72 of a heart attack.
Billy Neighbors had 2 sons that played at Alabama, Wes and Keith. Wes played at Alabama from 1983 to 1986. His father had been a member of Bear Bryant’s very first recruiting class and Wes was a member of Bear Bryant’s last recruiting class.
Wes was a 4 year starter at Alabama at Center. He was All SEC and 2nd team All American.
Wes was a bit on the smaller side at 6-1, 250, but played one season in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts.
Brother Keith played at Bama from 1988 to 1992 and was part of the national championship team in 92.
Wes Neighbors was the father of Wesley Neighbors who was part of the 2009 national championship team at Alabama before injuries forced him to give up his playing career and spent his last seasons at Bama as a student coach.
Apparently, the lack of a Fullback in the Alabama offense sent the younger brother, Connor, to LSU.
I would imagine the Neighbor family has had some adjustments to make with their younger family becoming a member of a rival school’s football team.
But, he wanted to play Fullback somewhere.
Connor Neighbor played in the recent Senior Bowl and it will be interesting to see if he is drafted or is signed as a free agent and if he can continue his playing days.
Ironically, the top rated Fullback in the eyes of NFL scouts is more than likely Alabama’s Jalston Fowler.
Fowler will almost definitely make an NFL squad, but look for Neighbors on the next level as well.