Estero tight end Nataro commits to USF
From Stanford to Western Kentucky, tight ends have played a big role in Willie Taggart's offenses, and that tradition helped convince Nick Nataro, a 6-foot-3, 245-pound recruit from Estero, to commit to the Bulls on Wednesday.
"I've been talking to USF for a while, and the coaches are a bunch of great guys and run a top-notch program. I feel they can really get me to the next level, so I decided this was the right decision," said Nataro, who had previously committed to Arizona and visited Auburn, with an offer from Florida Atlantic as well.
Nataro was in Tampa for USF's "Saturday Night Live" recruiting event last month and said the proximity, just a two-hour drive from home, was a major factor in his choosing the Bulls over the Wildcats.
"I've been a Florida boy my whole life," said Nataro, who was born just north of Tampa in Spring Hill; his family moved to Estero when he was three. "It's perfect. I'm getting away, but I can come back whenever I need to and my family can watch my home games."
He has mixed reviews from the recruiting sites -- ESPN gives him three stars and has him as the nation's No. 20 tight end, third in the state; Scout has him with three stars and as the nation's No. 52 tight end, fourth in the state; 247sports gives him two stars and rates him the nation's No. 66 tight end, sixth in the state, behind two uncommitted locals in Alonso's Marcus Mosely and Strawberry Crest's Alex Carswell. Rivals gives him two stars.
Nataro split time between tight end and receiver (in a spread offense) at Estero and has worked as an outside linebacker and defensive end on defense, but he said he's coming to USF as a tight end. The Bulls will have Sean Price and Mike McFarland back in 2014, but he should be competing with players like Tye Turner and Guito Ervilus for a backup role. USF did not sign a tight end in its 2013 class.
"Of course, I love catching the ball and being a playmaker, but whatever helps my team the most," Nataro said. "Sometimes, I put my hand in the dirt and just block, which I'm perfectly capable of. ... (The history of tight ends with Taggart) was a really big plus, something that grabbed my attention right away. Their tight ends have had some of the most catches in their whole league."
Nataro said he's firm in his commitment to USF and won't change his mind, even if other offers from in-state schools come his way. "It feels right for me at USF," he said.