Harbaugh Knows Best: Why Nauta is a Top Target on the Board

For most elite high school football recruits, the stresses that come with being in the spotlight can be too much and forces some to stay off the radar a bit. Think of Michigan quarterback commit Brandon Peters. But for Buford (GA) IMG Academy TE Isaac Nauta, he’s been on the centerstage for years now.

He started on both sides of the ball (tight end and defensive end) as a freshmen at Buford High and landed his first offer from the University of Michigan back in the early spring of 2013 but that is not what he was first known for nationally.

Nauta really picked up his fame outside of the football field when he made an appearance on USA’s “Chrisley Knows Best” when he attended the “Sweet Sixteen” party of the daughter on the reality show. Not only was he featured on the show but he was also grilled by the father and given the nickname “The Buford Bison” by one of the kids. It was a moment he’ll likely never forget or live down when he gets to his future college locker room.

That was something that most recruits don’t have to deal with but Nauta handled it with grace. Not only did he not allow it to affect his football career/recruitment but he ended up coming out even more mature and becoming one of the best high school football recruits in the country.

After his junior season, the nation’s top tight end recruit decided to take his talent to the south beaches of Florida and enroll at the newly popular IMG Academy and help himself become even more college ready. Funny thing is, most analysts (including myself) believe Nauta was the most “college ready” recruit in the 2016 class before he made the move. So, how ready is he now?

Jim Harbaugh knows. That is why Nauta quickly became a top target for the staff when they took over the Michigan program. He has the size, skill and playing style that fits the Wolverines offense better than any other. Add in the momentum and familiarity the previous staff built up and it only makes sense that he would be at the top of the offensive recruiting board.

But will Michigan be able to reel in one of the biggest fish in the class?

I believe so.

After officially visiting for the Michigan State debacle, Nauta let it be known that the visit was even more than he imagined it would be. Highlighting what the University and Jim Harbaugh has to offer him as a student and player.

Thanks to his official visit, the majority of his family living in Michigan, and the Harbaugh offense heavily featuring the tight end, as well as The Wolverine crew hearing that he nearly committed while on his visit ($), I believe the Wolverines are indeed the favorite to land Nauta moving forward.

Will that happen? We’ll see. Recruiting is a crazy business and anything can happen in the next couple months. But if you’re a Michigan fan, you have to feel pretty good about UM’s chances here.

Photo Credit: Casey Brooke Lawson/IMG Academy