Isaac Nauta’s attendance at UGA’s Dawg Night on Saturday begged the obvious question: How firm is the 5-star’s commitment to Florida State?
Despite enjoying his experience in Athens — his second visit in a month — the nation’s No. 1 tight end remains strongly committed to the Seminoles.
“I’m still fully committed to them (FSU),” Nauta told the AJC. “I’ve got a ton of love for Florida State.”
Nonetheless, Nauta, whose parents live just down the road in Dacula, wanted to stop by the star-studded recruitment event in Athens to catch up with coaches and fellow recruits. While he didn’t compete at Dawg Night, the former Buford standout got a chance to talk with UGA coaches Mark Richt, Brian Schottenheimer and John Lilly
They made it clear that Nauta is still on the top of the Bulldogs’ wish list.
“I took notice to all the love coaches were showing me and all they guys that were out there. They really rolled out the red carpet for me,” Nauta said. “They all had the same message, and that’s been the same from the beginning. They want me really bad. They just kept pounding on that.”
His second visit to Athens this month gave him a chance to hang out with the prize of Georgia’ s 2016 class, blue-chip quarterback Jacob Eason. The two spent time together at The Opening camp earlier this month, and Nauta says they like to catch up whenever they get the chance.
“Whenever I see him, I always holler at him,” Nauta said. “We got to hang out at the Opening a little bit too, so that was cool.”
Perhaps the Bulldogs’ biggest potential lure going forward, aside from Georgia’s proven development of tight ends, will be the proximity to home. While the tight end transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., his parents remained in the metro Atlanta area — which gives UGA an advantage.
“I’m not huge on going away from home. I’d definitely love for my parents to be there. I know, selfishly, my parents want to be at my games this year,” Nauta said. “That’s one things about Georgia that’s so convenient is that it’s right down the road. I’ve lived in Michigan, Florida and Georgia, and Georgia has definitely been my favorite place to live. I like the state in general. Being away from it you kind of miss it.”
Nauta doesn’t intend on getting back to Athens before he leaves to start his senior year at IMG Academy, but he expects to make Georgia one of his official visits this fall. He planned on taking five officials this fall, which is still the plan, with Southern California, TCU, Michigan, Georgia and Florida State still in the mix.
Though his Florida State commitment remains intact, he doesn’t want to limit his options, admitting college football recruiting is a “crazy process.”
“Georgia’s always had a good impression on me,” Nauta said. “I just never want to close any doors, always keeping my options open. Georgia is definitely one of my top schools.”
— By Benjamin Wolk, Special for the AJC