Buford (Ga.) star Isaac Nauta entered his sophomore campaign with a mountain of expectations hovering over him. When the curtain finally fell on the season he had successfully met each and every one of them.
“I was All-State offense and defense, I won tight end of the year, and we won another state championship… so it was a great year.” reported Nauta. “I had eight sacks, 65 tackles, four forced fumbles, 19 interceptions for 400 yards, and six touchdowns.”
That explains why the 6-4, 240-pounder’s offer list has ballooned to 17 and reads like a who’s who of college football. Among that impressive group is a quintet of early favorites.
Michigan sticks out on that list as the furthest from home and as the one that had the most disappointing season. Nauta’s family in the Great Lake State and ties to defensive coordinator Greg Mattison mitigate the distance issue, and his belief in the program’s direction mitigates the other.
“The way I try to look at things is that I try to picture where I want my life in football to go,” he explained. “I honestly want to go to the NFL and for that I got to find a good position coach first. From there I need to try to put myself in the offense where the tight end gets ball and I can make plays, and I need a head coach who knows what he is doing… who has a track record of it. I understand that Michigan had a bad year… they lost some close games. I don’t know, I feel like in a way it was sort of a rebuilding year for them just because they got a new quarterback in there, they finally changed their offense to more of a pro style, and they’re getting things going again. I guess you can just tell about a coach and where he wants to take his program just by the way they do things. That is just a phase that they went through and they’ll snap out of it real quick.”
Michigan assistant Jeff Hecklinski dropped by the Nauta’s school a few weeks ago and afterward invited the talented youngster to come up and see the progress for himself.
“He stopped by for a little bit, but he can’t talk to me yet,” said Nauta. “He just talked (my coach). He wants me to come up for a game, but because I have family in Michigan, when I go up there and visit them (this summer) he wants me to come up to Ann Arbor when I have a chance then too.”
That’ll likely be the first opportunity the four-star talent has to meet new Michigan offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.
“Honestly I thought (the Nussmeier hire) was a good move for them,” Nauta stated. “They got more pro-style quarterbacks in their offense now so you aren’t going to see a whole lot of option or a whole lot of read option of that sort. So they got more pro style offensive coordinator in there. I like it too because he is a big one about using the tight ends at Alabama, which is good for a player like me. I thought it was good move for them for sure.”
Michigan is just one of the many possible visit destinations for Nauta in the next few years. While he isn’t in any rush to make a decision, he isn’t married to waiting until after senior season either.
“I may do something sooner than that,” he said. “I just want to get out to a few more places that are on my mind and then at that point if I feel settled I might as well go ahead and commit. I still want to take official visits my senior year, but we will see what happens. I’m not planning on making a decision real soon yet. I could even take it to the spring of my senior year, I don’t know. Just whenever I feel like a place is home is when I’m going to commit.”