When Andrei Iosivas ’23 scored a 9.96 out of 10 on the Relative Athletic Score, a combination of drills and physical attributes used by NFL teams to rate players, it confirmed what Princeton coaches already knew: He is quite an athlete.
Iosivas is 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, and his score ranked 14th out of 3,048 wide receivers tested since 1987. Those numbers enticed the Cincinnati Bengals to select Iosivas in the sixth round of the NFL draft in April despite already being loaded at wide receiver.
“It was a long process,” said Iosivas, who had to wait until late on the third day of the draft to hear his name called. “I was a bit anxious. But once you get that call, everything, all the weight comes off your shoulders, and you’re living the dream that I’ve always wanted to live.”
Now, at the Bengals’ minicamps, he’s embarking on a familiar path of proving that he’s just as good a football player as he is an athlete. It’s something he also had to do as a freshman at Princeton coming from Honolulu, Hawaii.
“I was one of the under-the-radar prospects coming in,” Iosivas said. “Nobody really knew who I was.”
“I was a bit anxious.
But once you get that call, everything, all the weight comes off your shoulders, and you’re living the dream that I’ve always wanted to live.”
— Andrei Iosivas ’23
In his first fall at Princeton, he didn’t play a single snap on the varsity, yet after the season head coach Bob Surace ’90 told him that he had the potential to be one of the best receivers ever developed at Princeton.
“He blossomed late and we got lucky with that,” Surace said. “He was starting from maybe a higher athleticism but lesser experience than most of the guys we take.”
Iosivas’ athleticism quickly paid off in a different arena: track and field. As a freshman, he finished third in the decathlon at the outdoor Ivy Heptagonals. He went on to set the Ivy League heptathlon record at the 2022 indoor Heps, and his 6.71 seconds in the 60-meter dash set an NCAA Indoor Championships meet record for heptathletes. But all along, Iosivas saw himself as a football player first. In the spring of 2023, he did not compete in track in order to prepare for the NFL draft.
On the field, Iosivas has proven that he has more than athleticism. As a sophomore, he hauled in 18 catches, including four touchdowns, and felt like he could have done more. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed his return to the field, but during his gap year he set his sights on a pro football career.
“My dream was to be in the NFL, but I wasn’t sure how much of a reality that was,” Iosivas said. “When it became more of a reality was when I came back after COVID, when I was working out with the boys in the summer, I could see it more. We were doing captains’ practices and lifting, and I felt like I was a monster, and I felt like a big season was coming.”
His junior-year numbers more than doubled — 41 catches for 703 yards in 2021 — and as a senior, they jumped again as he led the Ivies in receptions (66), receiving yards (943), and touchdown catches (seven).
At Princeton, Iosivas had learned from veteran stars, spending his first year studying the game behind future NFL receivers Jesper Horsted ’19 and Stephen Carlson ’19. Now he’s starting a similar path in Cincinnati, where he has been working out with a receiver corps that includes Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd. “Seeing the great receivers do it in real time helps definitely accelerate that learning curve,” he said.
Surace, an NFL assistant coach for Cincinnati in the early 2000s, has high expectations for Iosivas’ future as a pro.
“Coming from a place like ours and coming from our league, you’re getting great intangibles that this guy is going to show up to work,” Surace said. “He’s going to work his tail off and most likely reach his ability level. I think that’s a real positive for Andrei.”