Being too small to play the position has never been a problem for the 6-foot-4, 240-pound tight end out of Buford, Ga. The four-star prospect has been that size since finishing his freshman year of high school.
That type of size and power is a necessary piece of Buford’s offense – one that aims to pound the ball and control the game clock with perfection and poise. Buford, however, was unable to do that early in its Class AAAA state title matchup with St. Pius X. The Golden Lions jumped out to a 10-0 lead early in the first quarter.
Trailing by 10, Buford went to Nauta through the air for a first down. The Wolves quickly backed themselves up with a false start, however, which is a bit uncharacteristic of Buford’s offense.
Buford rebounded from the hiccup quickly, though, as Brett Shepherd reached the end zone on a quarterback keeper from 65 yards out. Buford’s offensive line was back in stride – as was the defense - as was the special teams. With the blink of an eye the Wolves jumped out to a 27-10 lead with just under 12 minutes to play in the half. Buford was doing Buford things.
Nauta finally got his chance to show what he could do with the ball with just less than five minutes to play in the second quarter. Buford quarterback Luke Humphrey found Nauta through the air with a short pass followed by an athletic move by the junior which made a defender miss and resulted in a 65-yard gain. However, the play was called back on account of an illegal Buford shift.
Nauta has scholarship offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Florida, Florida State and others. The 2016 prospect is Scout’s second-ranked tight end in Georgia, fourth-ranked in the south and seventh in the country.
Burch’s Final Word on Nauta: Nauta’s been 6-foot-4, 240 pounds since before his sophomore season at Buford High. That’s the piece of information that stands out to me. That’s just not natural. That’s a physical specimen. It’s no wonder he had 13 scholarship offers following his freshman season alone. That type of power and physicality gives Nauta the ability to do whatever he’s asked. Nauta can block, but he can also release and break fast for the reception. He’s a guy that could jump in and play the role as soon as he throws on the pads in college. The remaining question is: will he get bigger? If he’s been the same size since he was 15-16 years old, is he as big as he’s going to get? That’s my question, but he’s still got another year of high school to figure that out. As for Saturday, Nauta did what he needed to do to help Buford to a 55-10 victory over St. Pius X and an 11th state title.