Sam Webb: Let’s start off first looking back on your freshman season. How did things go for you last year?
Isaac Nauta: “We graduated 22 seniors and we did not have a whole lot of experience on our team. I had to step up as a player. I got my number called. We had a pretty good year. We ended up winning state championship in 3A in Georgia, which was a great experience. I had a good year. I caught a lot of touchdown passes, made a lot of sacks and got a ton of playing time. It was a really good first experience of high school football. I’m just trying to build off of what I did last year and what the team did this last year and see if we can't go win three more and finish off my high school career.”
Sam Webb: Obviously, you’ve had a lot of success on both sides of the ball. Do you have a preference right now?
Isaac Nauta: “I like both spots, but I think I’m going to be a tight end.”
Sam Webb: You obviously still have a lot of room for growth physically, but right now what is your height, weight and 40 time?
Isaac Nauta: “I’m 6-5”, weigh 240 exactly, and my 40 was a 4.7.”
Sam Webb: You obviously caught the attention of a number of colleges. At what point did you start hearing from them?
Isaac Nauta: “Really, the first time I had heard anything was in eighth grade spring, going into my freshman year. I had talked to Kirby Smart. He came out to spring practice. At that point all they can do is say ‘hey’. He said they were really looking at me and told me that I was going to be a special player. That was the first time I had heard from college. As that year went on, I had a couple of good games where scouts were showing up. I think I got my first offer maybe a month before spring practice and that was from Clemson. After that, it pretty much blew up and I’m up to 14 or 16 offers now.”
Sam Webb: At what point did you start hearing from Michigan? Take me through when that started.
Isaac Nauta: “That actually started in the spring too. My uncle played for Coach Mattison at Western Michigan where he played college. They still stay in contact and Coach Mattison had actually called my uncle and he said, ‘you know we’re looking at your nephew and we’re really liking him.’ So my uncle passed me off Coach Mattison’s number and said that he wanted me to shoot him a call. So I called Coach Mattison and he said that they were really interested in me and they liked what I was doing. One day at spring practice Coach Mattison came down and surprised me. I believe the next day they offered me. It really means a lot to be just a freshman and already have a school like Michigan come all the way down to Georgia just come to say hi. They actually had two coaches come down.”
Sam Webb: Who was the other coach?
Isaac Nauta: “The wide receiver coach.”
Sam Webb: That would be Hecklinski. So you have Greg Mattison who is the defensive coordinator and you have Hecklinski who is the receiver’s coach recruiting you. Is there a little battle going on between coaches at Michigan regarding which position they are recruiting you for?
Isaac Nauta: “Oh yeah. Coach Mattison is whispering in my ear, I’m going to turn you into a defensive star. I got Coach Hecklinski telling me to be his tight end. They’re all torn up about it, about what I’m going to play. I don’t know, Coach Mattison may just have to accept the fact that I think I am going to be a tight end.”
Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for part two of this interview during which Nauta reflects upon his recent trip to Ann Arbor, discusses his favorites, and more.