It’s pronounced “yo-see-vosh”.
Though some draft analysts have gotten his pronunciation wrong, Princeton wide receiver Andrei Iosivas has certainly made a name for himself as one of the best small-school prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft.
A first-team All-Ivy League player in 2022, Iosivas solidified his status as one of the most physically-gifted wide receivers in this upcoming draft class. It’s no surprise, considering he’s an All-American heptathlete who holds the NCAA record for the fastest 60-meter dash. An invitation to the Senior Bowl and a stellar performance at March’s NFL Scouting Combine helped showcase that he not only belongs in the same conversation as top FBS receivers, but that he has as high of a ceiling as any of them.
Iosivas spoke with Windy City Gridiron about his Combine performance, balancing two sports and an Ivy League education, and much more.
JI: Your experience as a star heptathlete shows on the field. How did you manage being a two-sport athlete while being at one of the most prestigious schools in the nation?
AI: It is a lot of work, I’m not gonna lie, but I think it helped to keep me regimented, somewhat. Just as soon as you get out of football season, it’s a new schedule, but it’s still a schedule that you can follow. It helps you to do your work and all that kind of stuff, so I didn’t mind it. It was cool for me to hang out with the football team and also make a bunch of friends on the track team. I like to have my two different worlds that I can be in.
JI: What does it mean to you to be able to represent the Ivy Leagues on stages like the Combine and the Senior Bowl?
AI: Yeah, I thought it was super cool. I would say a lot of football players have dreams and aspirations and go to the next level. [My] friends were tuned in, and I know a bunch of other people in the Ivy League were tuned in, as well. Even though, on the field, I don’t like anybody else that doesn’t represent Princeton, I have to put on for the boys who go to Princeton, [and] also just for the Ivy League, in general, just showing that we do have athletes. We have ballers.
JI: How do you think you did at the Combine?
AI: I thought I did really well. I swear, I run faster than [a 4.43 40-yard dash], but we have other times that are faster, so I’m fine with that. But overall, I think I did well. I think my agility drills went really well. I had like a 4.1 in the 5-10-50, and then a 6.8 in the L-drill, so I think people will realize that I’m quicker than they would imagine. I guess you can see that in my yards after catch, too, but it solidifies it. And, I caught everything. I thought I ran really good routes, and I think I think my stock shot up after that Combine.
JI: You jumped very well, too.
AI: Yeah, I’m gonna retest my vert at the Pro Day. I feel like I didn’t get warmed up enough for the vert, so I’ll probably try to get above 40 [inches].
JI: What was the overall experience like, being at the Combine?
AI: It was cool. Obviously, the week leading up to it, you’re a little bit anxious. Once I stepped on the field, and I caught my first ball, I was like, “well, this is what I do”. I just use that — those nerves to turn into good adrenaline, and then you just go out there and work.
JI: I was watching your drills right before a wedding. It was tough to keep composure around my family while I was watching you killing it.
AI: I appreciate you watching before your [family] wedding (laughs). That’s big for me.
JI: You had a nice 2021 season but experienced a nice jump in 2022. What went into that season that solidified you as a likely draft pick?
AI: I actually, leading up into the 2022 season, I had foot surgery, so that offseason, I really couldn’t do that much, except for just catch on the jugs and maybe visualize routes and jog through cone drills and stuff like that. That whole summer, I was out. For me, the biggest thing was my yards after catch this year. I forget the percentage, I don’t know; I saw a number. But I can say a lot of my yards this year were my yards after catch. I knew that, if I want to elevate my game — I know I can catch the ball — to really become a lead [receiver], then I would have to do something with the ball in my hands, and I thought I did that. That was a reason why I could get the ball in so many more situations and places and just really just skyrocket with stats and just my role on the team.
JI: I had something in my notes on you about an injury, but I guess I didn’t put two and two together there.
AI: After the indoor track season — after nationals, where I got All-American — it was that week after as I think, “my foot feels kind of funny”. So I rested, and then I tried to come back and it [felt] literally the exact same. I had to get an X-ray, MRI, CAT scan, and there’s a fracture in my foot. I got to put a pin through it, but now it’s all good. It hasn’t bothered me at all, but I couldn’t really do anything that offseason.
JI: How do you spend your free time outside of football?
AI: I value my quality time with my friends a lot, so the off time that we do get at school is spent pretty much hanging out with the boys or just spending some quality time with them. Then, at home [in Hawaii], there’s a body-surfing beach, like, the best body-surfing beach in Hawaii, like 5 minutes from my house, so I catch some barrels and just chill the sun and the water.
JI: I’m jealous lowkey. I’m a paddleboarding guy but never done it anywhere like Hawaii.
AI: It’s definitely a great experience, but with the lakes, though, I need to go visit those because I’ve never seen a lake. It looks like a sea, apparently that’s what they say it looks like.
JI: If you end up in Chicago, you’ll have plenty of chances to hang out at Lake Michigan. The weather isn’t as good as Hawaii year-round, but it’s solid.
AI: I went to school in [New] Jersey. I’m used to not great weather.
JI: How often does it snow out there? I’m not on the East Coast a ton.
AI: Yeah, it’s just more like slush. It can’t really decide what it wants, so it just decides to slush all the time.
JI: Let’s say I’m an NFL general manager. What would I be getting if I drafted you to my team?
AI: You’d be getting a super hard worker. Obviously, I’m very athletic, so you get a hard-working, athletic guy who’s for the team and an explosive playmaker. I was a team captain this past year, and I know how to win. We were 8-2 this year. We didn’t win a championship, unfortunately, but my class was the winningest class in all Princeton history, so I know how to win. I’m a hard worker. I took a year off...for COVID, the Ivy League was the only league not to have football. I could have went to school that year, and then graduate the year after, but I decided to take a year off so I could graduate with my boys and leave a legacy at Princeton. That’s the kind of guy I am: loyal, hardworking, and I’m a playmaker.