If you missed part one of this interview, click here.
Sam Webb: You made it on your first trip to Michigan a few weeks back. How was it?
Isaac Nauta: “It was great. I went on the 20th and I kind of just went all around. There were about 11 of us including my uncle. It was like a big family reunion. All those coaches got to see my uncle again. Coach Hoke and Coach Dan Ferrigno and Coach Mattison all coached him at Western. They all knew my grandparents and my mom from recruiting him. They were all connecting back up. They did that for a while. We saw downtown part of the campus, all the indoor facilities, weight room, training room, the whole nine yards. Then we went to the Big House and that was definitely one of the coolest stadiums I’ve ever been in. Just all the tradition there and obviously the fact they have been selling out the stadium for 30 years. It was just a really cool place and I enjoyed it a lot.”
Sam Webb: Do you have any family up this way or is your family all in the south now?
Isaac Nauta: “All my family except for my uncle lives in Michigan. That is where I was originally born. I lived there for eight years.”
Sam Webb: Did you grow up a fan of one of the Michigan schools or did you fully immerse yourself in the SEC life?
Isaac Nauta: “I was actually growing up a fan of Michigan State.”
Sam Webb: Have you had an opportunity to talk or visit Michigan State at all?
Isaac Nauta: “I haven’t. It was actually in elementary school and there were two teachers and one was a huge Michigan fan and the other one was a huge Michigan State fan. I got put in the Michigan State’s fan class, so I pretty much became a Michigan State fan, pretty much by force.”
Sam Webb: What city did you live in growing up in Michigan?
Isaac Nauta: “I lived in Grand Rapids.”
Sam Webb: Since you’ve been down south is there a school that you kind of adopted?
Isaac Nauta: “When I moved from Michigan we moved to Jacksonville, Florida and my whole class just like back in Michigan, my whole class was a bunch of Florida Gator fans. I was like a little rebel and I became a Florida State fan. So while in Florida that was my team that I went for. As a whole thing with the recruiting gone, I’ve sort of faded and I don’t really have a favorite team any more. I’ll go for teams, but I don’t really have a favorite any more.”
Sam Webb: Let us fast forward well into the future and pretend you are getting ready to make your decision. When you do that what are going to be the biggest factors in that choice?
Isaac Nauta: “Definitely it is going to be player development. The way I think of it is I like to work backwards. I see myself in the NFL way into the future and when I work backwards I’m trying to figure it out how I’m going to get there. The kind of people, the coaches, the support that I’m going to need to get there. So working back is going to come down to player development. Which school develops tight ends? Which school has a coach that really buys into the players and wants what is best for them, not only as a player but as a person too? Because one play could end everything. It is not always about football. It is about him being a good person and player definitely. How the coach uses his players. Tradition, fan base… I definitely want to go to a school that wins. And for my family I want it to be moderately close. Michigan I know it is far from Georgia, but all my family is up there so that is not too out of the box. I’ve got family in Texas, family here in Georgia. Distance is not a huge factor, but just definitely thinking about it, what is just going to be best for my family and for myself development wise.”
Sam Webb: I don’t know if you and your family have even talked about this, but do you think that you’re going to wait all the way into your senior season to make a decision?
Isaac Nauta: “We’ve talked about it. I’ve still only visited five places. I haven’t even gone to half the players that have offered me. I’m going to want to go see some more places. I’m not going to put a timeline on when I’m going to commit to a school or not, because I know it is about to get crazy shortly. It is already starting to pick up right now. I know it is going to get crazy. I’m going to take my time and when I find a school that I really fall in love with, I’m going to commit then. I don’t want to make a stupid decision and rush something. I’m going to take my time with it, but I don’t know if that is going to be senior year, junior year or what. I’m going to make sure that I’m going to make the best possible decision.”
Sam Webb: What are the other schools besides Michigan that you’ve visited already?
Sam Webb: At this very early stage of your recruitment, have any schools started to stick out for you?
Isaac Nauta: “With Clemson being my first offer that always means a lot. They’ve always been there. So they are definitely one of the schools at the top of my list. Florida State is one of them. I had a really good talk with all the coaches when I visited there and I like what they do over there. Alabama, they haven’t offered me, but I really like what they do over there too and I have a lot of respect for their program. I think their program speaks for itself with what they’ve done the last couple of years. Obviously Michigan, they left a good impression on me and my family. Those are probably the top four right now. That is in no particular order, but those are schools that have stuck out for me so far.”