5 things to know about Puka Nacua, a record-setting WR in high school
Puka Nacua has one of the most unique names on the Rams’ roster and he’ll try to make it a household one during his time in Los Angeles. The former Washington Husky and BYU Cougar has the makings of a starting wide receiver, and the Rams could give him a golden opportunity to be just that early on in his career.
Nacua dealt with injuries in college that limited him a bit, causing him to fall to the fifth round in the 2023 draft. But the Rams scooped him up and hope he can become their new version of Robert Woods – a do-it-all receiver who can block, take handoffs on jet sweeps and move the chains as a pass-catcher.
Here are five things to know about the Rams’ new receiver, who set several records in high school.
He scored 50 TDs in his final 2 high school seasons
Nacua was an absolute touchdown-scoring machine in his junior and senior seasons of high school. As a junior, he caught 87 catches for 1,692 yards, with 24 of those receptions going for touchdowns. Somehow, he got even better as a senior, hauling in 103 catches for 2,336 yards and 26 touchdowns.
That’s a total of 50 touchdowns in his final two seasons at Orem High School in Provo, Utah. There probably aren’t many other players who scored 50-plus touchdowns as a wide receiver in two seasons like Nacua did.
He was the No. 22 wide receiver recruit in the country in 2019
His stellar play at Provo landed him a lot of recognition on the national landscape. According to 24/7 Sports, he was the No. 22 wide receiver recruit in the nation when he came out of high school in 2019. That landed him offers from a number of powerhouse programs, including UCLA, USC, BYU, Utah and Nebraska.
He actually committed to USC originally in 2018 before switching to Washington in 2019. He spent two years with the Huskies before transferring to BYU in 2021 for his final two years.
3 of his brothers played football at BYU
Part of his reasoning for transferring to BYU was to be close to his family. Not to mention, three of his older brothers played football for the Cougars, so he followed in their footsteps by also joining BYU.
Isaiah, Kai and Samson Nacua all played for BYU, and Puka was even Samson’s teammate for one season. Kai played safety from 2013-2016 and has played six seasons in the NFL. Samson played wideout at BYU for one season in 2021, while Isaiah was a defensive lineman for the Cougars in 2014.
Set several Utah high school receiving records
Nacua was a record-setting receiver in high school, etching his name in the record books multiple times. He finished his career with 260 receptions for 5,226 yards and 58 touchdowns, which are mind-blowing numbers considering a good portion of that production came in just his last two years.
His 260 receptions were a state record before Noah Kjar broke it in 2020, but Nacua still holds the top spot for career receiving yards and career touchdown receptions. His 321 yards in a single game is also a record, as are his 2,336 yards receiving in a single season. His 26 touchdowns in 2018 are the most in state history, too. He was named Mr. Football in Utah for his outstanding 2018 season.
Had 100-plus yards in 7 of his 21 games at BYU
Nacua only played six games at Washington before transferring to BYU, which is when his career really took off. In just 21 games with the Cougars, he gained at least 100 yards receiving in seven of them. He also had two more games with 100-plus yards from scrimmage, bringing his total to nine 100-yard games.
His best performance came against Baylor in 2021 when he caught five passes for 168 yards and one touchdown. He also had a 14-reception, 157-yard game against Boise State in 2022, scoring twice in that win, as well.