AMHERST — Four years ago, the thought of Andy Isabella being an NFL draft pick was a fever dream.
He was a 5-foot-9, 187-pound freshman who was a late addition to UMass’ 2015 recruiting class because of his track speed, and held just one other Division I football offer. He played running back at Mayfield High School – which is located 20 miles east of Cleveland – and was listed as such for most of his first year in Amherst while earning three rushing attempts and catching two passes. Even as he showed significant improvement over the next two years, Isabella entered the 2018 season as an intriguing pro prospect but not a guaranteed draft pick.
Everything came together for Isabella in 2018 as he shredded the record book and skyrocketed up draft boards. He led the country with a UMass-record 1,698 yards receiving and broke the school’s career mark with 3,526 yards. It all culminated in his crowning performance at Georgia – UMass’ final game of the season – when he torched the fifth-ranked Bulldogs for 219 yards on 15 catches.
“He’s humble, he keeps his mouth shut and he just steps out on the field, has fun and performs well,” linebacker Bryton Barr said after UMass’ pro day in March. “He was a walk-on and he just put in the work each and every day, a bunch of people telling him no and he’s worked even harder and made a huge name for himself. He’ll be on a team soon and I’m excited to see what God has planned for him.”
The game against Georgia was the beginning of a whirlwind journey for Isabella that thrust him into the national spotlight. He was a consensus All-American, a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, was invited to play in the Senior Bowl in January and work out at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. He went down to Mobile, Alabama, and was the MVP for the North team at the Senior Bowl then proceeded to run a 4.31-second 40-yard dash at the combine to tie for the fastest of the 2019 event.