PRO 2019 Rookie Spotlight: Andy Isabella, WR UMass

Rookie Spotlight: Andy Isabella, University of Massachusetts
Height: 5087 (official)
Weight: 186 lbs (official)
Hands: 8 ½”
Arm: 29 ¾”
40 yard dash: 4.38 (projected)
NFL Comparison: Danny Amendola, John Ross, Michael Campanaro

– re-accelerates quickly out of cuts and breaks
– can make the big play out of the slot
– excellent body control
– blazing second gear

– too many body catches
– may have difficulty with physical NFL defenders
– small catch radius

Scouting Notes: Andy Isabella has wheels. He was a high-school track star, running a nation best 60-meter dash(6.72 sec) and beating the likes of Denzel Ward in the 100 and 200 meter events. He used his break-neck speed to break ankles in college, stopping on a dime, changing direction, and then zooming up to full speed in an instant. Isabella racked up yardage this way, leading the FBS in yards per game with 141.5. He played mainly out of the slot, but he played outside as well to some success, due to his speed and route running acumen. He’s not a big guy, so he may struggle against the press in the NFL – he didn’t get to face much top-tier competition in college. If he can get behind his first defender though, he’s off to the races. Isabella plays tough, but he’s not what I’d call a tackle-breaker. He tends to deflect contact or navigate around it to great effect. Isabella doesn’t have a wide catch radius and he too often takes balls into his chest, but he does manage to hold onto the ball when it’s in hand. All that in mind, he’s not the guy who’s going to go up and get the ball in contested situations, but that’s why he’s likely to stick to the slot where he can catch the ball shallow and then make magic happen. Where he lacks in jump contests, Isabella excels at catching the ball in tight spots, which is useful, as he’s going to have to do so to thrive on the next level.

The body-catch issue was evident as ever during Senior Bowl week, but you start to wonder how much you really need to extend to catch the football when you are as elite as Isabella is at generating separation. Isabella had a ridiculous production profile in his final year at UMass and was a complete volume hog. He secured a 39% market share of team receptions (102), 47% of receiving yards (1698) and 48% of receiving TDs (13).

Fantasy Outlook: Isabella becomes less and less of a secret every day leading up to the draft. With smallish but quick slot-receivers finding success in today’s NFL, i.e. Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman, I think teams are going to be more bullish on drafting undersized receivers who can get open on a regular basis. Isabella says he can run a 4.26 40, and if he gets anywhere close to that at the Combine, you can bet he goes on Day-2 of the draft. He’s got the makings of a PPR-monster in fantasy if he ends up in a West Coast offense, as he’s a possession guy who can open it up for deep plays and has a nose for the end-zone.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Like all rookie profiles, this one will continue to be updated through the winter and spring with intel as we acquire it. When applicable/available, these profiles will be supplemented with transcriptions of scouting combine interviews with the players following the event.

From the UMass Athletic Department

• Biletnikoff Award Finalist (top receiver; 1 of 3 finalists)
• George H. “Bulger” Lowe Award (top player in New England; Gridiron Club of Greater Boston)
• Harry Agganis/Harold Zimman Award (most outstanding player in New England; awarded by the New England Football Writers Association)
• 2018 FBS Consensus First Team All-American (includes AFCA, Associated Press, FWAA, Sporting News & Walter Camp)
• Walter Camp All-America First Team
• AFCA All-America First Team
• FWAA All-America First Team
• PFF College All-America First Team
• Phil Steele All-America First Team
• Associated Press All-America Second Team
• CBS Sports All-America Second Team
• Sporting News All-America Second Team
• Sports Illustrated All-America Second Team
• Phil Steele All-Independent First Team
• NEFWA All-New England Team
• All-ECAC First Team
• Lombardi Award Semifinalist (top FBS player based on performance, leadership, character, resiliency)
• Paul Hornung Award Watch List (top all-around contributor)
• Wuerrfel Trophy Watch List (top student, athlete, community servant)
• Phil Steele Preseason All-Independent First Team
• NEFWA Gold Helmet Award (Nov. 7)
• Reese’s Senior Bowl Invitee
• Reese’s Senior Bowl North Team MVP
• NFL Scouting Combine Invitee
• Ranks first in FBS with his 1,698 total receiving yards and 141.5 receiving yards per game as of the completion of conference championship games, which is 288 more receiving yards and 24.0 more yards per game than any other receiver
• Is also second in total receptions (102), third for receptions per game (8.5) and tied for fifth in touchdown receptions (13)
• Including his impact in the run and return game, Isabella stands fifth in FBS for all-purpose yards per game (152.67), which ranks him first out of all FBS players in New England and second among all wide receivers nationally
• Six games of 100 or more receiving yards, including against Duquesne (131), Coastal Carolina (174), #5 Georgia (219), Liberty (303), Ohio (198) and #21 USF (174)
• Four or more receptions in all 12 games, including double-digit numbers against BYU (10), Coastal Carolina (10), #5 Georgia (15), Ohio (12) and #21 USF (13)
• Spread his 13 touchdowns across eight games with one each versus Charlotte, Connecticut, FIU and No. 21 USF, two against Duquesne, #5 Georgia and Liberty and a three-TD game at Ohio
• His 303-yard effort on nine receptions (33.7 yards per catch) against Liberty reset the UMass record for receiving yards in a single game and set the top mark in FBS or FCS during the 2018 season
• Is the only known player in FBS history with 300 or more receiving yards on fewer than 10 receptions
• His 2018 season totals rank among the best one-year performances in UMass football history (FCS or FBS) as he ranks first for most receiving yards (1,698), second in receptions (102) and tied for second in touchdowns (13)
• Opened the season with five receptions covering 136 yards, including two for touchdowns, and a 14-yard run, in the win over Duquesne (8/25)
• Tallied a dozen receptions for 198 yards and a career-best-tying three touchdowns at Ohio (9/29)
• Posted 13 catches for 191 yards and a touchdown against the No. 21 USF defense (10/6)
• Added a 10-catch, 176-yard outing against Coastal Carolina (10/20)
• Fought through the rain-soaked conditions at Connecticut (10/27) and led the offense to the 22-17 victory with four receptions for 78 yards, including one for a touchdown, and rushed twice for 13 yards
• Reset his personal best and the single-game program record with 303 receiving yards on only nine receptions against Liberty (11/3) and took two of his catches for touchdowns
• Capped his career with 15 catches for 219 yards and two touchdowns and rushed twice for 10 yards at No. 5 Georgia (11/17)
• His 15 receptions at No. 5 Georgia’s Sanford Stadium rank as the most by an opposing player in the history of the building (1929-present) while his 219 receiving yards are the second-most all-time

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