When it comes to Isaac Nauta's recruitment, it’s all over but the shouting. The five-star tight end when announce his collegiate destination during Saturday’s U.S. Army All American Bowl, but his deliberation process has already concluded.
"I came to the decision last night and without a doubt it was the hardest decision of my life,” Nauta told The Michigan Insider. “I never thought that this process, coming to the end would be this hard but I finally think I feel comfortable with the spot."
The IMG Academy standout said he won’t discuss his choice with any of his three finalists – Georgia, Michigan, and Alabama – until after his announcement. In the meantime, however, he did take the time to share his thoughts on the attributes of each school that he found the most appealing.
“Georgia… It helps that it's 45 minutes down the road from my house,” Nauta said. “It's really convenient for my family. It's an SEC team that should always have a chance to compete for the Eastern side of the SEC championship and it's just really appealing with the staff they brought in. Kirby Smart is untested as a head coach, but he's been a winner ever since he's been at Alabama so that's attractive to a recruit. He's a great recruiter. I've known him for a long time, so I was comfortable with him coming in."
"Alabama is just a machine. Every time you look at them it seems like they're in the playoff or in the national title or a big time bowl game. As a player you want to go to a place you can win, and that's definitely the spot if you want to win. Coach Saban has done a good job of recruiting and preparing guys for the league so that's a great feeling."
"Michigan is a great spot. That's originally where I'm from so I have tons of family up there. And to be honest with you, that's where they're all pulling for me to go just cause they want me to come back home and to be able to support me. Coach Harbaugh's system… he's done nothing but produce tight ends and I feel like I would be doing myself a big disservice if I didn't look at them really hard. Just because of what he's done with his tight ends, whether he was at Stanford, with the 49ers and obviously what he's done with Jake Butt this year. I like those guys a lot. Coach Jay Harbaugh, he's a real young guy, a lot of energy and that's something where I feel like I can cut up with him and be a guy because he's 26. At the same time, he takes his job very seriously and he'll make you a better football player. That's something I like about them. They have a ton of NFL and college experience on their staff and their system is going to set you up for the NFL. With all that combined, there's a lot to like about Michigan."
That begs the question, with so many appealing aspects of each school, what did his ultimate decision come down to?
"Really for me it was just where do I feel most comfortable,” Nauta replied. “With all these places where I feel like I could be and be successful at, where I feel is best fit for me is tough because when you have three spots you feel you could legitimately be at and be successful at, it doesn't make your decision any easier. But where you feel most settled at and most comfortable with, that's ultimately was the separator for me."