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Departing Georgia tight end Isaac Nauta had a knack for coming up big in the clutch for the Bulldogs.

Former Georgia football star Isaac Nauta begins pro career by giving back

ATHENS — Isaac Nauta was a gift that kept giving last season at Georgia, and now he wants to begin his pro career by giving back to his home community and his former team.

Nauta took to social media last Thursday to talk about a “pledgeit” account. Nauta, who is from Buford, encourages fans to donate money that will go to the Northeast Georgia Food Bank.

“It’s a cause that’s near and dear to my heart,” Nauta told DawgNation on Monday night. “When the stock market crashed in 2008, there was a time me and my family were getting food from the food bank. I thought this would be a good way to give back to something that helped me and my family out.”

Nauta has tied the donation to the amount of bench press repetitions of 225 pounds that he does during his NFL workouts, his target set at 15.

The former Georgia tight end remains all-in on the Bulldogs, as well, even while training alongside some former teammates at the XPE Sports facility in South Florida with nationally renowned NFL combine trainer Tony Vallani.

Nauta, along with WR Riley Ridley, were the only UGA players to catch a pass in every game in 2018, and NFL scouts noticed.

That said, there’s a relatively deep pool of talent at tight end in this year’s draft, and Nauta will be under the microscope during the testing.

The NFL Combine is fast approaching; Nauta is expected to work out with the tight ends on March 2 and again at Georgia football’s Pro Day on March 20.

Still, Nauta took the time to reach out to a potential replacement for him at Georgia last week, Tennessee graduate transfer Eli Wolf.

Georgia football-UGA-Isaac Nauta-NFL draft

Nauta caught a pass in every game last season/Scott Cunningham photo

“The biggest thing with Georgia recruiting Eli is with me leaving and Luke (Ford) transferring, the tight end room is pretty thin,” Nauta said. “They need a guy with experience and a guy who can make plays in the passing game, and they see him as that.”

RELATED: Tennessee football captain high on transferring to Georgia

Georgia Hesiman Trophy candidate Jake Fromm and returning tight end Charlie Woerner also spoke with Wolf during his Jan. 27 visit, and the former Vols’ captain is expected to decide after visiting Ohio State later this week.

Nauta gave Wolf an idea of what to expect if he chooses the Bulldogs over the Buckeyes.

“What I told Eli is that you have an opportunity to come in and play right away if you pick up the offense, and it’s a great opportunity with James Coley being the OC,” he said. “Coach Coley loves to throw it around, and he should have a lot of people  to make a lot of plays next season.”

Nauta is confident the Bulldogs will continue to compete for national championships long after his departure, which made leaving Athens a bittersweet decision.

As much as Nauta accomplished with the Bulldogs, seemingly coming up big in the clutch every time his number was called — 4 catches for 81 yards and a TD against Alabama this season, 5 catches for 73 yards against Florida — he realized he needed to make a business decision.

“I’ve been playing and starting in the SEC for three years, and I’ve gotten a lot of experience under my belt in that time,” said Nauta, who was third on the team with 30 catches for 430 yards last season. “Physically and mentally, I’m ready for the next chapter.”

The fact Nauta is beginning the next stage of his life by giving back to his home community and university is telling.

 

 

 

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