2023 NFL Draft

Interview: Princeton WR Andrei Iosivas Might Be The Next Big Small-School Receiver

Wide receiver Andrei Iosivas has traveled coast to coast. So wherever the NFL brings him, he’ll be ready for it. Born in Hawaii, he went across the USA to play football at Princeton. Now he’s in Mobile, Alabama, looking to turn his Saturday afternoons in the Ivy League to Sundays in the National Football League.

From Honolulu, Iosivas wasn’t a late bloomer. He was always big and athletic, just as he looked out on the field for the American Team’s first practice Tuesday. A lack of college interest came from playing in a run-heavy offense that didn’t have elite quarterback play to allow him to put up the numbers to justify scouts flying over the Pacific to go watch him.

If Iosivas (pronounced yo-sa-vas, because I know you’re wondering) wanted to pursue college football, he was presented with two options. Good grades got him on the Ivy League’s radar with offers from Princeton and Dartmouth. A cross-country trek but one he was willing to take, committing to Princeton.

“I didn’t have a really good high school career but luckily I had a good GPA,” he tells me in an interview Tuesday. “And so I just did a Ivy League tour and they offered me around the spot when I went to their camps.”

Doubling as a track-and-field star, a three-time league champion in the heptathlon, he broke out on the football field in 2021. A big-play threat averaging more than 17 yards per catch, he helped lead the Tigers to a 9-1 record. 2022 was an even better year, leading the team with 66 receptions for 943 yards and seven touchdowns. He loved running downfield, post routes his favorite, and he made them count.

Studying politics in school, each day was an early morning and late night with track, football, and classes keeping him on a rigid schedule.

“You have your lift in the morning or a meeting, and then you go to your classes for pretty much from the late morning to the afternoon. And then you can try to fit in another meeting in-between your schedules. You gotta find time to eat and then you have practice 4:45 to seven. And then homework.”

Through it all, Iosivas found his way on the NFL’s radar. Now, he’s in its spotlight, practicing and playing well during Tuesday’s practice. With great size at 6027, 212 pounds and an overall profile that some have compared to Christian Watson, star of the 2022 Senior Bowl who dominated the second half of the NFL season with Green Bay, Iosivas felt comfortable with his first day out there. His philosophy? Keep it simple, do your job, and the plays will come.

“I thought I played well in the one-on-ones and then the release drills. Coming in and out of my breaks, I thought I did well too. I knew my plays and so I’m just trying to do my job.”

Still, there’s an adjustment to the tweaks and changes the American Team coaches are giving him.

“There’s little things like putting your other foot up. And then the numbers and the hashes are different.”

Those differences, altering his stance and playing with narrower hash marks that offer less designation between field and boundary, will take time to adapt to. But Iosivas has gone from being off college football’s radar, off the NFL’s radar, to squarely on both. Height, weight, speed, and good character sells in the NFL. He has them in spades and he’ll get to show it later this year.

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