From breaking records to LeBron James shoutouts, meet Puka Nacua, the ‘special’ rookie wide receiver

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From breaking records to LeBron James shoutouts, meet Puka Nacua, the ‘special’ rookie wide receiver

Post by GlendoraRam »

In Canton, Ohio, between the busts of the legendary figures of the sport – from Super Bowl winning quarterbacks to era-defining coaches – stands a blue and gold jersey with the No. 17 on the back.

The name on the back might be unfamiliar to many, but even after just a few games in the NFL, Puka Nacua has already earned his spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Nacua’s jersey has been placed in football’s shrine to all things great and good because of the historic beginning to his rookie NFL season.

Drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the fifth round of this year’s draft to relatively little fanfare, Nacua is exceeding expectations with a series of explosive performances.

Following Week 5 of the 2023 season – a game in which he caught seven passes for 71 yards and a touchdown – the 22-year-old’s jersey was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the numerous records he had broken.

The headline was that he had recorded the most receptions (46) and receiving yards (572) by a rookie in their first five games.

At his current pace, Nacua will obliterate the receiving record set by a first-year player in the NFL, set by Jaylen Waddle just a few years ago, as the Rams wide receiver seemingly every week sets a new milestone for the most receptions by a player in their first year as a professional.

And for this unheralded player from Utah, it makes the achievement that much more special.

‘Holy cow, this guy’s special’
Football has always been around Nacua. He has three older brothers, all of whom played at Brigham Young University (BYU) at some point.

So when it came to transferring to his hometown university after a few disappointing years at the University of Washington – battling a broken foot and limited playing time from the bench – it was a no-brainer for Nacua.

Fesi Sitake, the wide receiver coach and passing game coordinator at BYU, vividly remembers the first time he encountered Nacua.

“I remember the first game I watched of him in high school. I saw him make one of the best catches he’s had in his high school career and he’s had a lot of them,” Sitake told CNN Sport.

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