BUFORD, Ga. -- Two weeks before his birthday in May, Buford (Ga.) High School freshman tight end Isaac Nauta had thought of an obvious deal with his parents to get a new car. He was about to turn 16 and had already picked up college scholarship offers from Mississippi State, Florida, Tennessee, Auburn, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Miami, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Michigan, Ohio State, Missouri, UCF, South Carolina and Florida State.
So why not have Nauta’s folks buy him a car with the money they had put aside for his college education, considering his impending free ride?
“I thought about using that one against them before,” Nauta said. “I’ve got to wait until I get my license first.”
Two months later, and he still hasn’t had the time to get his driver’s license. Between camps and college visits, there just aren’t enough hours in the day for the 6-foot-4, 240-pound sophomore to take care of that small detail. Among Nauta’s travels was a day spent in Athens, Ga., taking in the annual Dawg Night camp.
“Dawg Night was a great experience -- very good competition, and with me being someone who is constantly a competitor, I had a lot of fun,” Nauta said. “Also, I was able to spend a lot of time with Coach [John] Lilly and really get to see his style of coaching. I like him a lot. The coaches wanted to let me know that they really want to see me play for the Dawgs one day and that they are going to recruit me hard over the next few years. After speaking with the coaches and competing at Dawg Night, Georgia has definitely moved up on my list, and they are high up there.”
That bodes well for Lilly, Georgia’s tight end coach, who offered Nauta a scholarship despite the fact that Nauta still has three seasons of high school football to play. Such an early offer from the Bulldogs was almost unheard of until recently. So far, the Bulldogs have offered only four players in the class of 2016, and Nauta was the first in-state player offered.
“The Georgia offer is really cool because they are in the SEC,” Nauta said. “I love the coaches and how they use the tight ends, so there is a lot to look forward to just in observing what they do over the next few years. And I think I’m going to go back up there pretty soon. I mean, they’re my home-state team, so that’s definitely going to be a factor familywise. Plus, we’ve got family friends that are big Georgia fans and just like the family friend aspect of Georgia is something to think about, too.”
While he might have just completed his freshman year, Nauta carries himself like an NFL vet, handling all of the media attention with aplomb and a quick smile. He also hits like one. In fact, no one is exactly sure where on the field he will wind up.
“I believe that all my offers are at defensive end or they have said they’re not going to lock me to a position, but I think I’m going to be a tight end,” Nauta said. “That’s what I like, and that’s what I’ve trained for pretty much my whole life. The doctors say I’m going to keep growing. If I could end up 6-6, that’s ideally where I’d want to be. That’s one thing to think about. If I get that heavy, I may want to play defensive end. If I get any bigger than that, I’ll be a left tackle. I want to keep my speed up, and I don’t want to get too heavy. I want to be 255 or 260 pounds, running a 4.6 or 4.7 my senior year.”
In the meantime, Nauta plans to keep focusing on being a kid in high school. Recently, a car has caught his attention: a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro. It makes sense that Nauta would like the classic muscle car because they share a lot in common: Both are strong and fast head-turners.
Oh, and they’re also both highly coveted.