How I stumbled onto Nate Craig
Let me take you back to late November of 2012. Then, I went to a playoff game in the Sunshine State to watch a handful of 2013 prospects between Dade City (Fla.) Pasco and Tampa Robinson.
It wasn’t the seniors who caught my attention. Rather, it was a player that I had no idea about. I was actually up in the stands shooting video of the game and couldn’t wait to hit the field post game to find out about one of the Pasco players who was making plays on both sides of the ball at wide receiver and safety. He was big and boy was his fast. In that game he had two scoring receptions. In all honesty, he was the best prospect on the field and I had no idea who this No. 9 was (video here of him in this game).
To my surprise this kid was a freshman and his name is Nate Craig. Now you may have heard of him because he’s the top rated recruit from the state of Florida and the only five-star ranked wide receiver in the 2016 class at this time. Overall, Craig is one of the top prospects in the next class on Scout.com.
Craig, 6-foot-3, 205-pounds, is a man-child. He picked up his first scholarship offer from Texas Tech in March of 2013, when he was still a ninth grader. Since, Craig has offers from teams like Florida State, Florida, Ohio State, Clemson, Auburn, Tennessee and many others. Michigan offered him last week to bring his total to 23.
What may surprise some is that Craig could already be closing in on his decision. And at this point, all signs point to Craig leaving the state.
“If I had to choose a school today it would be Auburn,” Craig said. “I was there for the spring game and just felt so much at home. I have built a great relationship already with the coaching staff. The atmosphere at the spring game was unbelievable and I loved what I saw from the offense, especially from the passing game and the wide receivers. They went deep on the first play of the game. They are not just a run team like they showed last year. Coach [Gus] Malzahn is a terrific coach.”
It’s not just the Tigers who Craig covets. He also stated that Ohio State was his No. 2 team while Clemson comes in at No. 3.
“I don’t mind leaving Florida,” Craig said. “I just want to find the right place for me.”
Recently, Craig transferred schools and is now attending Tampa Catholic. That move in itself was not an easy decision.
“I remember the first week at Tampa Catholic was very hard,” Craig said. “It was more of the school work. It’s just a little different [than Pasco]. It was very hard to say goodbye to those guys. But at TC, everyone has made me feel at home.”
Tampa Catholic has had their share of big name prospects over the years like quarterbacks Kenny Kelly and Christian Green, wide receivers Darrell Jackson and Jeris McIntyre and offensive tackle Chaz Green.
As good as those guys were, Craig could and should top them all before it’s all said and done. I have seen him play twice live now and at a handful of 7-on-7s and in camp settings. Craig has great size and has gotten bigger. He has tremendous deep speed and can just run right by defenders. Craig has good hands and snatches the ball out of the air. He’s a natural ball catcher who makes things look effortless on the field.
It’s scary because he keeps getting better and better and still has two full seasons to develop his game before he begins his college career. And as things stand right now Craig could very well be headed to Auburn.