Isaac Nauta is set to name the school he will enroll early at during the NBC broadcast of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday.
The 5-star tight end named his three finalists in late December, but told DawgNation he has trimmed his three finalists of UGA, Alabama and Michigan down to two schools.
Which two? He’s keeping those in his head. Nauta expects to reveal his choice during the fourth quarter of Saturday’s broadcast. That makes sense, because his argument is arguably the biggest at the event this year.
Nauta said he has now put his admissions and enrollment papers in for each of his three schools.
“I should have all my papers in for all my schools now,” he said. “I just had to put my papers in so if I do go to each of my final three schools then I am enrolled.”
He will transition to being a full-fledged college player after Saturday’s game. The 6-foot-4, 237-pounder will then fly home to Dacula, Ga., to collect up his belongings and move to his chosen school.
“I fly home on Jan. 10 and gather up my stuff and go,” Nauta said, who added that the events of this week can factor into his decision. “I’ve got it down to two in my head and I’ll be able to make a decision sometime this week.”
The nation’s top-rated tight end broke down what he’s looking for this week in Texas.
“It is about being around the best competition and getting better,” Nauta said. “I will see what I need to work on and then just go out there and compete and have a good time.”
He said he needed to go down to two schools to make the decision easier. He just made that decision last Friday.
“You have to figure it out at some point, but it is tough,” Nauta said. “But at the end of the day I really can’t make a bad decision here with these three schools.”
Nauta said the last message he got from new UGA head coach Kirby Smart was “Go Dawgs” and “Have a good time at the Army game.”He’s also already heard from new offensive coordinator Jim Chaney “two or three” times about all the ways he’d use him at UGA.
He said Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh told him if he worked hard and succeeded in his system, he could definitely be picked in the No. 5-to-No. 15 range in the first round of the NFL Draft one day.
Nauta shared the main reasons why he’d choose each of his three finalists:
UGA: “Location is big. It is right down the road from me in the SEC. It is obviously one of the best conferences in football, no doubt about that. There’s a new coaching staff but if that does end up working out between me and Georgia then I could potentially be a part of something that is brand new and refreshing. I could say that I was a part of that.”
Alabama: “They win a lot and it would be a place where I could get into a system where I could always contend for a national championship. They are also at a place where they teach you how to be a successful person and not only a successful athlete. Those traits could carry on for the rest of your life.”
Michigan: “Coach (Jim) Harbaugh produces tight ends,” Nauta said. “His players come straight out of pro system which is what he runs. He’s got connections from every coach in the league to general managers. It is definitely a place where if you do well in his system, you can really take it to the next level.”
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.